DOES THE SOUTH EAST HAVE A FUTURE?
The unanimous opinion of the summit delegates was yes, but it needed to be recognised that the future will not be the same as it’s past. It was agreed that the solutions are out there.
What then might be the game changers for the South East economy?
- Brake down the silos – collaboration is critical to regional economic growth – business, industry, commerce, training and education, and all levels of government working in partnership – look beyond sectorial interests – consider the bigger picture
- Develop a collective sustainable brand proposition for the region with a focus on the region and not the state or towns.
- Recognize and harness the power of regional small business which is an economic growth driver and job creator – government policy must support small business growth at all costs – large businesses are contracting and disappearing – outsourcing to smaller enterprises is the name of the game
- Promote and encourage regional entrepreneurial flair, innovation and creativity – actively create the future we want for us and future generations – stop making decisions that have more to do with the past than the future
- Regional industry and business must take the lead, rather than leaving it to government – recognize that the new emphasis is for people to be more self-sufficient and not look to government for all of the answers – less focus is required on the immediate and more on what’s important
- Recognize that the region has moved into a new economic era – consumers now drive the pace of economic activity – training and education of the past is not relevant to the emerging new era – education should focus less on formal factual knowledge and more on the ability to see opportunities – we must recognize that the regional economy is now constantly dynamic and characterized by boom bust boom – some jobs go, others are created – obsolete businesses are replaced by those more in tune with the new economic era. There is now an urgent need to change attitudes, upskill and refocus business and strategic plans to reflect and embrace this – note that the global economy is improving, so position your business or organization to access these growing markets
- Recognize it is not so much about the product but the experience – note that experiences are memorable – people will investment in an experience – delight customers, don’t just please them – embrace and prepare for new and emerging markets – work to the region’s strengths and proven economic growth drivers including tourism, high quality food, wine, clean water, clean air, open space – the lower dollar will see an influx of domestic and overseas tourists – can the region service this e.g. with appropriate accommodation?
- Accelerate university sector efforts to deliver high quality education services in the region – maximize the lifestyle potential of the region in order to attract interstate and overseas students – business can capitalize on the high speed broadband that the university sector has brought to the region – electronic communication has eliminated the tyranny of distance
- Recognize that nothing is impossible – publicize and learn from the world leading businesses that have made their mark in the region
- Leverage the close relationship between investment in infrastructure and economic growth – stimulate regional economic growth by investment in transport and other infrastructure including upgrading freight corridors and tourist routes – trigger the economic multiplier through public investment in infrastructure – government must consider non-traditional sources of funding – the focus must be on progressing multiple regional projects rather than one project at a time – develop strong infrastructure plans that will in and of themselves create certainty and generate growth
- Support the revision of the Local Government Act so that it becomes a blueprint for social and economic growth
- State and regional local government procurement must focus on best value rather than best price, and for government to see suppliers as partners rather than entities to be risk managed
- Recognize good from bad debt – we are now in a historically low interest rate environment – invest to grow – invest in labour enhancing productivity – position to take advantage of the inevitable upturn in the regional economic cycle.
Strong economy means more business and more jobs!