The Northern Grampians Shire Council has adopted an economic development strategy to help guide the region's recovery from COVID-19.
Council began to develop the 10-year plan in July 2020, with a steering committee formed to prepare a draft strategy the following month.
Councillor Tony Driscoll served as chair Northern Grampians Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan 2021-31 Steering Committee. He moved the motion to adopt the strategy.
The strategy includes several critical performance indicators the council will aim to achieve by 2031.
These include increasing the region's population from 11,400 to 14,400, reducing the average age in the region from 48 to 37, reducing youth disengagement in work or study from 13% to 8%, increasing capital investment, and reducing carbon emissions.
Cr Kevin Erwin seconded the motion and praised the plan.
"I think it's a really strong, robust plan for the next 10 years," he said.
"I don't want to see our communities die like some of the ones have in the Mallee and just go backwards. We want to be positive.
"It's one of the better documents I've ever seen while on council."
Cr Erwin and Cr Driscoll both praised those who helped create the strategy.
It labels three key challenges to the region's economic well-being and its residents' quality of life; these are population decline and growing social and economic disadvantage, vulnerability to natural disasters and global market events, and investment preparedness.
The plan lists five strategic directions to negate these challenges:
- Being the rural region of choice;
- Growing the economic capacity and engagement of residents;
- Developing iconic destinations and healthy environments;
- Being a magnet for innovation and investment; and
- Attracting investment in enabling infrastructure
It also names some of the region's strengths it hopes to capitalise on, including its natural resources, research capacity, industry diversity and the key transport routes that run through it.
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