Federation Council, $50,000
Professor Mark Morrison, Professor John Hicks, Associate Professor Tom Murphy (Western Research Institute)
Rural and Regional Communities
Regional Australia is going through a period of unprecedented industrial change. Between 2006 and 2011 employment in 44 out of 46 non-urban regions of Australia grew more slowly than their urban counterparts, and often employment growth in regional areas was negative. Sectors that have traditionally provided employment such as manufacturing and agriculture have had declining employment opportunities, due to both closures and increased mechanisation. Declines in the mining sector have not helped. Consequently, unemployment is increasing in many regional centres.
The challenge for those charged with encouraging economic development in regional areas is to (1) have the correct information, (2) to understand it and (3) to be able to make strategic decisions about how to encourage regional economic development.
This project, which was supported by Regional Development Australia – Murray Region, with co-funding from the NSW Government’s Energise Enterprise Fund and CSU, is helping to address this challenge. CSU researchers worked with five Local Government Areas (LGA) in the Murray Region – Federation, Berrigan, Edward River, Greater Hume and Murray – to undertake a regional development study to support the development of operational and strategic plans for improving the regional economy.
Its components were:
A draft operational plan for improving regional development in the region based on the findings of the project’s report Economic Development Study – Murray Region was discussed at two community meetings held in Corowa and Deniliquin with changes to the plan based upon that feedback, as well as separate feedback received from project partners.
The Murray Region Economic Development Study Operational Plan proposes a number of initiatives under the headings – develop regional economic development capacity; address human capital constraints; develop business social capital, networks and entrepreneurial leadership; stimulate local economic activity through support for start-ups and existing businesses;develop links with other economies, networks and knowledge and financial resources; develop clusters; develop missing critical infrastructure; and develop social infrastructure.
The project has helped the five local governments involved in the project identify effective options for enhancing economic growth among the industry clusters most likely to increase business development and employment in the future. These options are region wide, as well as relevant to the specific LGAs involved. These options could then be subjected to cost-benefit analysis and funding through Jobs NSW with the goal of implementation.
Professor Mark Morrison email