With the South Coast selected as one of ten pilot regions to become part of the federal government’s Regional Jobs and Investment Package, a local planning committee is soon to be announced.
With $20million set to be invested in the South Coast, from Nowra to Eden, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is hoping to diversify the local economy, stimulate long-term economic growth and create sustainable employment.
Minister for Regional Development, Fiona Nash, recently contacted Member for Eden-Monaro, Dr Mike Kelly for local nominations to join a committee designed to manage regional jobs and investment packages through a local investment plan.
Local nominations come from local government, industry as well as community leaders.
“We don’t want our young people to take their talents to Sydney – they need good job prospects right here on the NSW South Coast,” Ms Nash said in June last year when the package was announced in Narooma.
Dr Kelly said the program will be locally led, with the planning committee engaging extensively across a broad range of local stakeholders.
It will be responsible for developing local investment plans by identifying key funding priorities and opportunities for short and long-term economic growth and job creation.
“This ties in with my strategic economic plan that involves tourism, renewable energy investment, making the most of the NBN and the Port of Eden, the cruise line industry, the Bundian Way project and investing in local entrepreneurs,” Dr Kelly said.
According to the program’s website, once a planning committee establishes a local investment plan, funding will be available through business innovation grants, local infrastructure grants and skills and training grants.
“People are feeling insecure about digital disruption because they see innovation as a loss of a job,” Dr Kelly said.
He criticised the government’s approach to innovation, following their election campaign’s use of the catchphrase Jobs and Growth.
“When you talk about innovation you can’t kill off the CSIRO, knowledge infrastructure, TAFE and cut university funding,” he said.
Dr Kelly said the federal government’s undermining of Centrelink, health and education have made life difficult for regional Australians, who would benefit from greater investment in renewable energy.
“We do have to manage the Australian energy market which has seen an 88 per cent decline in renewable energy since 2013,” he said.
“Australia should be at the forefront of investment in renewable energy.”