The Illawarra Business Chamber believes 2017 should be the Year of the Region for both the NSW and Australian Governments.
With a new Premier and changes in the NSW ministry we are seeking a renewed focus on regional NSW. The Chamber and Illawarra First have highlighted the significant benefits from a greater investment in regional areas such as the Illawarra.
Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director, Chris Lamont, said the Illawarra has been traditionally known for its industrial production and mining, but it now has a transitioning economy experiencing growth in health, tourism, education and training, research, public administration, knowledge services, financial services, advanced manufacturing safety and construction.
“It is important that governments look at the potential of regions to drive state and national productivity in the transition from the resources boom. The lower cost base and tangible competitive benefits of regions, offer important gains that could power the nation for the decades to come,” said Chris Lamont.
“Just as the Australian resources boom would not have been possible without the billions invested in infrastructure, a regional economic boom requires a similar level of investment,” said Chris Lamont.
Population growth in regional capitals is outpacing the national average and this growth is impacting regional economies, with the current labour force of approximately two million people set to grow by almost 500,000 in the next 15 years.
“It is now time to deliver on initiatives such as the NSW Government’s Decade of Decentralisation Strategy and regional growth plans.
Job creation, reducing congestion in major cities, providing more opportunities for youth employment and support for local business are just some of the benefits from investing in regions and should be a priority for the new Premier and ministry,” said Chris Lamont.