RDA Wide Bay Burnett Newsletter - November 2016
RDA Wide Bay Burnett is one of 55 non-for-profit organisations across the country funded by the Australian Government to help strengthen our regions. RDA's work with business, the community and all levels of government to promote economic development.
Economic Growth Forum success

More than 150 regional stakeholders attended the forum which was jointly hosted by the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils (WBBROC), Regional Development Australia (Wide Bay Burnett) and the Department of State Development.

Industries from across our region showcased how they 
capitalise on opportunities available in the Wide Bay Burnett region and, in doing so, reinforced how this region is on the cusp of change.

Keynote speaker for the event was the Hon Fiona Nash, Deputy Leader of the Federal National Party, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Regional Communications, Minister for Local Government and Territories. Minister Nash spoke about the contribution of regional Australia to the economy and provided information on government programs such as Building Better Regions and Wide Bay Jobs Package.

The forum also provided an opportunity for each regional council to highlight their local priority projects that will deliver economic growth and prosperity. 

 “It was fantastic to see the number of attendees that gathered in the spirit of co-operation between businesses and local councils to promote the region’s great opportunities and recent accomplishments. The inspiring stories of local businesses achieving great things in our community will surely drive other businesses to reach for similar heights. The day was well attended, included a good
cross-section of speakers and had something that was relevant to all levels of business. It will certainly be on our calendar to attend again next year”
Alan Cooper – CEO Friendly Society Private Hospital 
Economic blueprint updated
RDA WBB has updated its Regional Roadmap 2016-2019 to reflect the region’s strengths, challenges and emerging economic opportunities.

The document considers the unique regional characteristics as well as listing the identified priority projects agreed by all three levels of government.

RDA WBB chair Bill Trevor said the road map reiterated the important contribution of regional Australia.
“Regional communities are an attractive place to live and invest. With a strong culture of innovation, they offer diverse employment options and attract the skills and talent needed to build successful businesses.”

The Wide Bay Burnett’s unique strengths include:
  • Major infrastructure assets with excess capacity (e.g. Port of Bundaberg)
  • Proximity to large population areas in South East Queensland
  • Upgrade of Bruce Highway, improving access and travel times for freight movement through Wide Bay transport corridor
  • Expansion of value added agriculture & direct markets, both domestic and international for regionally grown food
  • Leveraging major business development opportunities at Port of Bundaberg and gas pipeline servicing the precinct
  • Boosting tertiary and higher education sector in the region to retain and attract younger persons and school-leavers
  • Strategic location to provide supply chain and other ancillary business support for the mineral deposits in North Burnett
  • Increase of retiring baby boomers returning to the Region
  • Establishment and positive impact of trail networks in Burnett Region
  • Stronger incubators for emerging businesses
  • Available workforce, with possibility of upskilling
  • Leverage the region’s airport network for different economic engines they represent
The road map is available at:
RDA’s unite in Albany

More than 200 delegates attended the Regional Development Australia annual National Forum in Albany, Western Australia, on October 25.

RDA WBB Chair Bill Trevor, Deputy Chair Daniel Poacher and Executive Officer Scott Rowe attend the forum which gave the RDA’s the opportunity to collaborate.

“It was an opportune time for RDA Committees to consider models to drive economic development, share information and gain a stronger understanding of Australian Government initiatives and programmes to support Australia's regions,” Mr Rowe said.

“RDA’s have the flexibility to tailor support for the communities they represent so it is always good to see which initiatives other RDA’s have implemented and how they can assist the Wide Bay Burnett community.”

RDA program under review

The future of Regional Development Australia committees is being reviewed by the Australian Government to examine the effectiveness of the programme in delivering the government's regional agenda.

The Hon Warwick L Smith AM has been selected to undertake the role of the Independent Reviewer. Mr Smith has significant business experience, particularly in the telecommunications and financial services sectors, and experience working with volunteer and community organisations. He also attended the 2016 RDA National Forum on 25 October in Albany, WA, to discuss the review with attendees.

Mr Smith will make recommendations regarding RDA’s future scope, structure and delivery model, in light of developments in the Australian Government's regional agenda. The review is expected to  be delivered to the Minister by December.

Ex-HMAS Tobruk update

RDA WBB remains confident the Wide Bay region will be selected to sink the ex-HMAS Tobruk to create a military dive wreck.
The Regional Dive Wreck Advisory Group helped 
co-ordinate the tender submission to state and federal governments outlining the business case for the decommissioned warship. 
“We are still patiently awaiting a decision on the successful 
region however we remain confident that our bid will be as strong as any competitor,” RDA WBB Executive Officer Scott Rowe said.
“With a combined $2 million on the table from Fraser Coast and Bundaberg Regional Councils, the support of the community and our existing complimentary tourism businesses, we are best placed to secure the future of ex-HMAS Tobruk as a new tourism asset.”

Mr Rowe said he was hopeful the Federal Defence Minister Marise Payne would make a decision on the Tobruk’s future prior to Christmas so that the process of environmentally preparing the vessel could begin.

Resource sector contribution to region
While renewables such as solar, wind and geothermal will play an increasingly important role in energy supply for the future, the contribution of the natural resources sector cannot be underestimated.

The seventh annual economic contribution report, released by the Queensland Resources Council in October, revealed locally the sector contributed $922 million to the gross regional product of the Wide Bay Burnett.

The sector continued to bolster state coffers in 2015-16 with an estimated $55.7 billion contribution to the Queensland economy and the equivalent of 309,500 full-time jobs.

RDA WBB continues to position the Wide Bay Burnett region as top of mind with resource sector proponents to maximize job opportunities, particularly with proposed new mines on the horizon in the Galilee Basin of Central Queensland.

A detailed breakdown of the contribution of the sector of each of the five local government regions of the Wide Bay Burnett is available at
RDA WBB – EOI for Committee Volunteers

Community volunteers are being sought to join the Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett Committee/Board to fill 2 x Committee positions (1 member to represent Gympie and 1 member to represent the North Burnett.
RDA is a national network of committees made up of local people volunteering their time and energy to develop local solutions to local issues.
Leaders with the skills, experience and knowledge to build networks within the business community, industry, education and all levels of government are required to facilitate wide consultation and develop local solutions for regional economic development.  
EOI closes 25 November 2016. Please contact Colleen Bruce for EOI forms should you be interested in applying:
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Contact RDA Wide Bay Burnett: 
Level 1, Suite 8/107 Boat Harbour Drive Pialba QLD 4655
PO Box 1142, Maryborough QLD 4650
Ph: 07 4124 2526

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