FUTURE VISION: Business groups lobby for Regional Deal funds
THE first shoots in an economic plan to transform the Hervey Bay have started to show.
The Whale City's aged care, tourism and education sectors are expected to be major areas for investment as the business community and State and Federal Government representatives continue to develop a vision for the Hinkler Regional Deal.
Similar to City Deals run by the Federal Government, the program brings all three levels of government together to foster economic growth.
Hervey Bay and Bundaberg were selected as the pilot sites for the deal worth an estimated $150 million.
Local business representatives met with all three levels of government in Hervey Bay yesterday to shape an agreed vision of how the program would be implemented.
A second meeting was held in Bundaberg that same day.
Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett executive officer Scott Rowe said no specific projects were agreed to, but the main message was for the Fraser Coast to play to its strengths like aged care and tourism.
"They're our main advantages and are leading the way compared to other regions,” Mr Rowe said.
"But we can't overlook the importance of our manufacturing industry.
The lucrative economic deal between the two cities is expected to bring thousands of jobs when the plan is finalised.
City Deals in Townsville and Launceston have pumped more than $200 million into their respective economies.
Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation Minister Bridget McKenzie said the meetings would assist the government in "shaping an agreed vision and focus for the Regional Deal and the opportunities it represents”.
"There are obvious issues for the local community, intergenerational unemployment, a lack of skills for those businesses that want to grow and develop,” Ms McKenzie said.
"We can do better at joining the dots in support services and ensuring that particularly young people in this region can grow up and stay here, having safe career progression.”
Cr Seymour said another workshop would be held with community leaders on "how best to support local industries and encourage new businesses in tourism, manufacturing and emerging human service sectors”.