The Bay Islands were the 'first' to be presented with the Redland City Council's draft Economic Development Strategy 2-14-41 that charts a course for the city and its islands over the next 25 years.
Even though the council islands in Moreton Bay do not figure anywhere in the report, we are in the mix when it comes to our cumulative position in relation to economic growth.
Whilst the rest of Queensland sits at 3 per cent economic growth, the Redlands is at a lowly 1 per cent.
In presenting the report to a recent meeting of the Bay Islands Chamber of Commerce, Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards admitted the council and the community has a 'long way to go' to get economic growth headed in the right direction, 'just to get on even par with the rest of Queensland.'
Council has identify seven key industry sectors where economic growth is possible:
• Education and training;
• Financial and Insurance Services and Professional Services;
• Healthcare and Social Assitance;
The draft strategy reckons Redland City will be a destination of choice for business through a culture of 'innovation and creativity that encourages the development of employment generating enterprises creating opportunity and prosperity for the city and its residents'.
The report admits that population growth is declining and employment growth is 'subdued'.
And it also recognises whilst the goals are 'clear', the means to bring about the changes and initiatives required, are not.
That is what the present study and direction is all about: to find the 'most significant levers for economic growth that are in the domain of the council'.
The draft strategy suggests that developing partnerships could be the key to the success of the eventual economic development strategy involving stakeholder partnerships, key industry sectors, sustainable environment, planning and infrastructure, lifestyle and community well being.
To make it all happen, the strategy suggests a 'partnership' between council and the business community by way of a special committee that will have specific goals and objectives.
It is believed council will call for candidates to serve on the committee at some time in the near future.
Mayor Karen Williams says: “Redland City Council aims to leverage the unique characteristics of the Redlands to build economic capacity and deliver prosperity for the city and its residents.
“It is critical that the business community has ownership of this strategy and it is up to them to help us deliver.
“This strategy is not just about attracting business, but retaining and encouraging business as well.”
The draft Economic Development Strategy will now be made available for community comment through the new City Plan 2015 website, library displays and forums across the city, expected to begin in July.
WHAT ABOUT US?
So where does this leave the Southern Moreton Bay Islands?
The Friendly Bay Islander believes we can do much to play our role in the economic development of the Redlands by offering our islands as:
• a destination for the establishment of small manufacturing making use of the plentiful workforce that resides on our islands;
• Projecting our islands in a positive image as 'The Friendly Bay Islands;
• Promote our islands to the right sectors as an 'ideal and sustainable living destination';
• Developing the 'basics' of a tourism industry that allow our islands to be explored and discovered.
Let us know what you think by commenting on our website: www.thefriendlybayislander.com