The wheels are in motion to drive an ambitious jobs growth strategy after councillors, expert economists and planners gathered for a planning and jobs growth summit, to identify the essential next steps for our region's prosperity.
Armidale Mayor Sam Coupland said the purpose of the summit was to identify the engine room jobs and critical infrastructure required to deliver on council's ambition to grow local jobs by 1000 within five years and 4000 by 2040.
"We now have a much clearer picture of the heavy lifting that needs to be done to unshackle a local economy that has flat lined over the last 20 years and set the region on a path for success in the coming decades," Cr Coupland said.
Councillors and representatives of the Department of Regional NSW heard from local industry leaders, eminent economist Dr Nigel Stapledon and former NSW Chief Planner Gary White, on a range of matters including plans for the future, water security and post-COVID challenges and opportunities facing our region.
"Water security is top of mind in terms of infrastructure," Cr Coupland said.
"We need to increase catchment and treatment capacity as well as rethink how we can better utilise recycled water.
"Also on the list is a runway capable of landing large incident response aircraft cargo jets and the energy industry has the potential to be a genuine point of difference for us as a region.
Cr Coupland said infrastructure was needed to build public amenities to compete with other regions for population.
"What we currently provide is not sufficient," he said.
"Success doesn't happen by accident and for far too long we've waited for it to fall into our lap.
"It's time for us to be proactive and get the resources and infrastructure in place that allows our region to kick on."
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