Economic development marked for Whitsunday future

IT'S been talked about for years and now it's about to happen - Whitsunday Regional Council will be managing economic development in-house.

At this morning's budget meeting in Proserpine, Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox announced council would be hiring their first ever Economic Development Executive Officer and would then develop a region wide economic development strategy.

He said developing the strategy would involve engaging with all stakeholders, including the region's chambers of commerce.

"(We'll) do a swat analysis of the whole area - that will then help us form the plan of what we're going to do over the next four years," he said.

"All of the community will be involved, business, ratepayers, everyone will be involved in that."

Following the demise of Whitsundays Marketing and Development Limited and formation of a dedicated regional tourism organisation in Tourism Whitsundays, Cr Willcox said it was time to bring economic development in-house.

"More than 85% of larger councils consider economic development to be a core function of council and two-thirds of those councils have dedicated staff resources to economic functions," he said.

"This new Economic Development Strategy will underpin everything we do to ensure our region has a prosperous growth period going forward."

Cr Willcox said under the strategy the economic development officer would ensure business opportunities were more seamless and allow council to "drive the region forward a lot easier.

He said council had also started a major client forum where big clients or groups could personally meet with the mayor and CEO to discuss their plans for the region.

"I think this council's got the strongest leadership that we've ever had - we want to see this region go ahead and that's what we're trying to do," he said.


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