It may surprise you to know that the Coffs Harbour economy is now almost 1.5 times the size it was in 2002 and growth over that period has outpaced that of NSW as a whole.
The local economy has generated an extra 9,000 jobs since 2001 and we have around 5,300 local businesses in the area. We’re a growing area, but we face challenges – such as trying to attract and retain young people and developing a better qualified, more skilled work force to meet future demand.
Their involvement in the economy will also mitigate the economic downsides of an ageing population and open new opportunities to create jobs.
Council plays a partnership role with education, federal and state agencies in helping develop Coffs Harbour’s future workforce.
Our recently adopted Economic Development Strategy 2017-2022 has three key areas of focus.
One is the digital economy. Council’s most visible initiative in this area is the award-winning ‘6 Degrees’ start-up programme that aims to support local start-ups and entrepreneurs.
The food manufacturing and agribusiness economy is another focus. The recent, very successful FoodCon event – that brought local farmers, growers and fishermen, producers, food businesses, retailers, restaurants, chefs and consumers together to help create regional partnerships – is a good example of the work we’re doing with the local food industry.
Tourism is also another factor. It has been a mainstay of the local economy for a long time and is a strong and stable sector, but there is untapped potential especially in the nature-based tourism space. This is a market that we’re working closely with the local industry to help promote and enhance.
Council also plays a direct role in our future growth by working with the community, investors, strategic partners and federal and state government agencies to establish regional public infrastructure that will have a lasting positive impact on the region.
Working towards future growth is complex and no single organisation or industry will achieve success entirely on its own. Partnership is the key.