Fresh moves to boost local economic growth

THERE is a new push to boost economic development in Cooma-Monaro Shire.

The council will establish a taskforce made up of members of the community representing various sectors to devise a long term strategic plan and options for economic development of the shire.

The move comes two years after the Mayor, Dean Lynch, tried to establish a similar taskforce comprising Cooma Unlimited, the Chamber of Commerce at and Business Enterprise Centre.

Cr Lynch said the previous idea did not work as he had hoped.

The new concept is for a taskforce run by a separate facilitator. It would comprise community members and would report back to council in a certain time frame with ideas about the direction of economic development.

"Even though we [the council] are instigating it, (the taskforce) it will be run by a separate entity with a little bit of money behind it," Cr Lynch said at the council's monthly meeting on Monday night.

"We go with probably six months to achieve an outcome and come back to council with recommendations with where we think we are going."

Cr Lynch said the taskforce would come up with specific outcomes on how to spur economic development in the region.

It will be a starting point to address development strategies, projects, funding opportunities and action plans.

"It might come out from this that we need to target small business or target new business or need to target those businesses that are already here," he said.

The taskforce would comprise no more than seven skills-based and experienced members drawn from a wide range of key industries.

It is envisaged that initially a community forum would call on representatives from a wide range of interests involving agricultural and primary industry sectors, health and support services, educational services, utility and energy services, business and transport interests, tourism activities and construction industries, among others.

Council has allocated $10,000 to the committee overseeing the taskforce to produce a report for council's consideration.

The council's general manager John Vucic will call for expressions of interest from a variety of experienced, skills-based stakeholders interested in joining the taskforce to produce the report to council in six months.

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