Councils collaborate beyond boundaries
In an historic first, five cross-border councils are joining forces and looking beyond their respective geographical boundaries to grow and develop the wider region.
The first Albury Wodonga Regional Economic Development Strategy 2018-2022 will be considered for adoption by AlburyCity, Wodonga, Federation, Greater Hume and Indigo Councils during October.
An initiative of the NSW Government, the strategy has been developed using each council’s community strategic plans and economic development strategies, both of which are community driven.
AlburyCity Mayor Cr Kevin Mack said the five councils had never before collaborated in this way.
“We now have a high level strategy that each council can use to influence future growth and development. Importantly, it demonstrates that the government has recognised that regional economies operate beyond local government boundaries and that we are communities of economic interest rather than lines on a map,” he said.
A considerable amount of research and data analysis has gone into developing the strategy, which highlights the region’s competitive strengths.
Home to more than 130,000 people, the economy of the wider region is valued at $7.1 billion annually. Key industries of specialisation are identified as manufacturing, agribusiness and transport and logistics.
Other sectors including tourism, health care and defence are also seen as engines of growth, critical to creating prosperity and enhancing the quality of life for residents.
Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie said, “This is another great example of how the councils in this area are able to work together for the benefit of our people, who move across our borders every day. We know how powerful it is when we collaborate and go to other levels of government united.”
Greater Hume Council Mayor Heather Wilson said strong and vibrant regions could not be achieved without strong regional centres and prosperous rural areas. The strategy provides an outstanding building block to further enhance the economy of our region.
The strategy also identifies each council’s economic development priorities through a range of well-aligned major projects. Examples range from road upgrades to resident- attraction programs, with each playing a key role in delivering economic growth and job opportunities.
Indigo Shire Mayor Cr Jenny O’Connor said understanding the priority projects for neighbouring local government areas is essential in recognising Indigo’s role, strengths and context within the broader region.
With about 50 per cent of Indigo Shire’s population working outside the shire, predominately in Wodonga, Albury and Federation Shire, participating in the broader economic region leads to social, cultural and economic benefits for residents.
Federation Council Mayor Cr Pat Bourke said effective collaboration was achieved when the results of the team’s efforts are greater than those which individual members could achieve on their own and this collaboration is a fine example of that.
“We are bound to achieve great things across the wider region as a result of this,” he said.