According to Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) Deputy Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins, there is a pressing need for all the Shire’s businesses and organisations to come-on-board and partner with Council in driving economic development. He said while Council is undertaking many activities aimed at achieving positive outcomes real success can only be obtained if everyone is contributing and singing from the same hymn sheet.
“Let’s be honest, smaller rural communities like ours face many difficult social and economic issues into the future. Many businesses have been doing it tough but we have to face up to reality and find solutions. Competition from access to goods and services through the internet is a growing problem while economic opportunities leaking out of our towns to larger service centres is another,” Councillor Hawkins said.
“Our region has always had a strong agricultural base and now more than ever we must strive to ensure the town community can depend on the farming community for business and that our farmers can depend on our towns for their services and social connection. At the same time, high dependence on one industry can have its downsides. Rural towns hurt badly during expanded drought periods which cause economic downturn. On the other hand the whole local economy can benefit if producers can value add on their base product,” he said.
“Looking to the future, and with the aim of providing greater economic security, it is vital we diversify through building on opportunities like the burgeoning RV industry and tourism potential. Continuing steps to build trade links and partnerships with countries in Asia, particularly China is also important.
“The development of the Liverpool Plains Business Directory and the Liverpool Plains Economic Development Strategy are amongst the ways LPSC is striving to address these issues. Finding solutions will require multiple service/support strategies, increased agency inter-connection and proactive approaches envisioning, planning for and adapting to future socio-economic requirements.
“Council understands it is vital to work with local people to gauge and utilise the practical knowledge, experiences and insights available to tackle the future in real and locally specific ways,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.