OPINION: Who's bringing business here?

OPINION: So, just who is responsible for attracting new businesses and investment to this region?

The Mayor holds the portfolio for economic development so one would gather that there would be some connection designed to stimulate significant and sustainable economic growth.

However, council's website reflects their economic development strategy hasn't been updated since 2013.

This was about the time FCO was incorporated to drive this activity forward for this region.

However the continued dysfunctional behaviour of councillors would not inspire anyone new to consider investing in this region.

The focus has to be on how to attract employment and investment, which requires a holistic investment attraction framework.

Any framework should also include an Investment Attraction Incentive Policy aimed at supporting an economy and business operating environment that encourages investment.

It's easy to jump on the bandwagon and say that FCO is not working, that its brand is too damaged, and that it's a drain on ratepayers.

However, it is not a solution just to give up and absorb it all back into council.The council's approval last week of the development/expansion to Enzo's on the Beach café at Scarness, and the agreement for Compass Helicopters to operate joy flights from Seafront Oval (during school holidays and other specific times) were two very important signs to the local community that economic development can still occur in this region.

We need tourist enterprises like this operating along the Esplanade.

However we need to radiate confidence and cohesion to others outside the region that this is the place to "do business".

And I'd suggest one of the key projects to display this could be the Pialba CBD; however the argument is still to be prosecuted by the council to convince the business community that this master plan is right for this area and be one that will most likely lead to appropriate investment attraction from outside this region to make this a reality.

Let's hope that the future remains bright for this region.

We all know that so much is possible.

- Tim Powers is the president of the Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce



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