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New economic development organisation for SEQ's southern corridor planned

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BH059/96 15 February 1996


The new Southern Corridor Economic Development Organisation will take up the challenge to increase investment in opportunities for employment in one of the fastest growing regions of Australia, Minister for Housing and Regional Development, Brian Howe, said today.

Mr Howe announced that the Federal Government would provide $390,000 over three years to assist in adminstrative arrangements for the new Organisation.

The Southern Corridor region, covers the local government areas of Beiudesert, Gold Coast, Logan, Redland and Tweed, It has a population estimated at 675,000 in 1994. Projected growth rates suggest a population of about 1.1 million by 2011,

Mr Howe commented that the new Regional Development Organisation would not be supported under the Coalition's regional development agenda.

"Trie Coalition has no commitment to the importance of regional development organisations In metropolitan regions such as this Southern Corridor of South East Queensland. What the Coalition is saying is that they're not interested In whether these regions contribute to national grov/th and whether the government has a role In facilitating this.

"It Is really an old-fashioned view of regional development." Mr Howe said

Mr Howe said the new Southern Corridor Economic Development Organisation has " come Into being after extensive consultation across the region.

"Involving the community Is a critical element of the Government's approach to regional development, Regional leaders are asked to Identify economic linkages, recognise and bring together communities of interest in rural and urban areas and across state and local government boundaries.

"This sets In train the process of building reg'ona! commitment to a fully cooperative approach for sustainable regional economic development. P1 of 3

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"In this region, many groups and individuals were involved in a series of workshops funded by the Federal Government under the Regional Development Program, and the Queensland Department of Business, Industry and Regional Development.

"As a result, this new Organisation has a firm base upon which to further define its role and extend Its membership," Mr How® said.

"The region's economy Is already recognised internationally for its tourism and natural attractions. A major challenge will be to achieve the same international recognition for Its manufactured goods and services. ,V "

"There are significant opportunities for broadening the region’s economic base by developing new markets in:

- Transport and warehousing, particularly along major transport routes.

■ Food processing, through expanding exports of high-value foods and regaining domestic markets share from imports.

- Packaging and plastics, where there is scope for cheaper service to small and medium enterprises.

- Construction, in opportunities to develop an export market for technical expertise. '

- Manufacturing, such as export potential for boat building. I. Information technology, particularly in newer sectors such as CD production and multimedia.

• Tourism, particularly in eco-tourlsm.

- Education and community services, through South East Queensland's established competitive advantages in exporting education, and new links between education and technology development.

"Among the challenges faced by the new organisation Is the development of a sustainable employment base beyond that provided by growth industries.

"A particular challenge is to create employment closer to where people live in the region.1 1

The Southern Corridor Regional Development Organisation will work with the South East Queensland Economic Development Forum (launched In May 1995). The role of the SEQ Forum is to focus on policy .and strategic economic Issues which affect the whole of South East Queensland.

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Mr Howe said the Southern Corridor group win develop Its own strategies and implement them, coordinating activities with other regional development bodies In South East Queensland and northern New South Wales

"In particular, it will work with the Northern Rivers Regional Economic Development Organisation on ways to progress economic development Issues of a cross-border nature." '

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Andrew Casey, Brian Howe’s office, Phone: 018 487 581