COMMUNITY leaders have banded together to develop a 10-year vision for Greater Bendigo’s economy.
The council-led committee aims to develop an economic development statement and strategy, with meetings planned for the next nine months.
Organisations represented in the Economic Development Statement and Strategy Steering Committee include Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Bendigo Health, Coliban Water, Dja Dja Wurrung Aboriginal Corporation, Be.Bendigo, Loddon Campaspe Regional Partnership, and the Bendigo Education Committee.
Bendigo mayor Margaret O’Rourke is the committee’s chair.
In its first meeting, this morning, the committee considered the local economy’s strengths and opportunities for improvement.
“Having our headquarters here in this region, it is very important for us to ensure this region is thriving,” Bendigo and Adelaide Bank managing director, Marnie Baker said.
“We, as an organisation – as with any business in this region – won’t thrive unless the community itself is.”
Cr O’Rourke said the strategy would tackle many overarching issues such as youth unemployment, education and training and gaps in skills.
“We also need to be better informed on new work trends and future global market opportunities,” she said.
She acknowledged the work involved in creating the city’s previous economic development strategies.
“But this is a new approach in that we actually have business at the table and they will be working with us all the way through and signing on to the outcomes,” Cr O’Rourke said.
The council is also planning to establish an advisory and reference group consisting of other health, education and industry groups to contribute to the work.
“There is no doubt that a collaborative plan of action will be a powerful strategic response,” Cr O’Rourke said.
The economic statement and strategy is expected to complement the council’s Community Plan.
Today’s meeting took place at the council offices on Lyttleton Terrace.