Moreton Bay Regional Council is today calling on businesses and the community to join Team Moreton Bay as it endorses its Regional Economic Development Strategy for the next 20 years.
Mayor Peter Flannery has just delivered a rousing speech to business and community leaders at Eatons Hill Hotel in which he spoke of his bold optimism for the decades ahead spearheaded by a COVID-19 recovery that’s already begun.
It follows formal endorsement of the strategy by Council today.
“While others are currently scrambling to activate economic drivers, Moreton Bay Region is already on the road to recovery thanks to many of you in the room and I am pleased to say that our economy is now fast-tracked with today’s adoption and launch of our Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS),” Mayor Flannery told the audience.
“The historical success of our traditional industries has provided us with solid foundations for success but rapid advances in technology, industry modernisation, major changes in global trade, and of course the impacts of COVID-19 mean the world has changed forever. We have to continue to change too.
“When Queensland’s Treasurer Cameron Dick delivered the COVID-19 Fiscal and Economic Review in September, employment was forecast to grow at 3.5 per cent through to the June quarter 2021. It is now forecast to grow at 6.75 per cent.
“That’s 77,300 more jobs more than expected, for a total of 160,000 jobs over the year to the June quarter 2021. And this is why, against all odds, I know there is opportunity at play.”
The Council’s Regional Economic Development Strategy, is a blueprint for economic transformation, articulating a plan to modernise the region’s economy over the next two decades by making it bigger, bolder and brighter.
The strategy’s ambition is not just to simply grow Moreton Bay Region’s economy.
“We will transform our economy into a nimble and resilient powerhouse that will continue to evolve and adapt to the challenges of modern market pressures and a changing climate,” Mayor Flannery said.
He said the region needed to be single-minded about attracting new industries that would provide high value to the economy by embracing new innovations and smarter technology such as:
“Our four pillars of Leadership and Identity, Industry Advancement, Trade and Investment and Knowledge, Innovation and Entrepreneurship will be the growth engines of our future,” he explained.
The REDS identifies four priority industries:
An action plan has been developed for the first 18 months which identifies measurable activities for the strategy’s implementation. In addition to this, an annual economic scorecard will be developed to track progress towards the identified 2041 goals and will also capture a variety of annual changes and trends across the region and economy.
“We can’t do any of it alone. This strategy has been developed collaboratively with contributions from local businesses, chambers of commerce, business and industry associations and many other stakeholders,” he said.
“I believe that collaboration will underpin the success of our REDS and our region for generations to come.”
Mayor Flannery said the REDS was not just a strategy for Council.
“This strategy is the beginning of a new approach to economic development in partnership with you. I want to continue collaborating with all of you because if COVID-19 has taught us anything it’s that we’re better together and we’re at our best when we’re quick to act,” he said.
Mayor Flannery said the region’s population had boomed during the past two decades and there was still plenty of room to grow.
“From future residential land to industrial land as well as areas for commercial and retail development, the region can accommodate just about any business. Our access to markets is enviable with easy road and rail access to the Brisbane CBD,” he said.
“We have almost immediate proximity to Brisbane Airport and Port of Brisbane. And the transport network provides access to the rest of South East Queensland and the state, making Moreton Bay an ideal location for businesses.
“It also means we have access to one of the largest workforces in the country, with more than one million workers located within a 30-minute drive of the region.
“These are opportunities for us to seize, as we strategise about how to meet the challenges of a changing global economic environment.”
Mayor Flannery said The Mill at Moreton Bay was a “sleeping giant that’s about to awaken”.
“This 460ha site holds untold potential as the largest greenfield innovation precinct in Australia,” he said.
“The site includes the Petrie Town Centre, Petrie Rail Station and the former Amcor Petrie Paper Mill Site, and from a Council perspective, an area totalling 65ha of greenfield development potential. That’s a developable space twice the size of the Brisbane CBD.
“We are going to build a tech and innovation hub twice the size of Brisbane’s CBD. In fact, The Mill is expected to deliver 8600 ongoing jobs and add $813 million into the regional economy per year on average, once fully realised.”
He said the site would not just be home to the USC Moreton Bay campus, it would become an epicentre for innovation in South East Queensland.
Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism Chairman Shane Newcombe welcomed the release of the strategy at a crucial time for maximising economic development opportunities.
“I commend the Mayor on his 100-day vision to formulate this bold plan for the region’s future. It is a credit to his leadership and that of CEO Greg Chamello,” Mr Newcombe said.
“MBRIT looks forward to supporting the implementation of the strategy and working towards a Bigger, Brighter, Bolder future for Moreton Bay Region.”
Mayor Flannery said everyone needed to play as a team, #TeamMoretonBay.
He’s already called on businesses in the region to show their support in a promotional video also launched today.
It features Domino’s Pizza Group CEO and Managing Director Don Meij, Packer Leather’s Lindsay Packer, My Berries Stuart and Allison McGruddy, and Head of USC Moreton Bay Karen Becker.
“The strategy we’re launching today is about you, me and all of us, shouting from the tallest rooftops about the abundant opportunities here, so that investors and business know that this region is the safe bet for smart money,” Mayor Flannery said.
“And for the established local businesses here, you have the ultimate first mover advantage - incumbency. I want you to have the confidence to back yourselves, because Council is backing business in our region.”
Mayor Flannery said while the region faced unprecedented challenges “in these strange times” and much was unknown, he did know it could not afford to operate on a ‘business as usual’ footing.
“The game has changed, the world has changed. Fortunately, Queensland is seen as the safest place in Australia right now and Moreton Bay is seen as something of an investment haven,” he explained.
“The momentum coming our way this year is because the smart money knows we’re a safe bet. Moreton Bay is back, open for business, and poised for future success.
“We already know that our unique combination of affordable housing, employment opportunities, natural environment and Council’s investment in essential infrastructure make this the perfect place to live, work and play.
“So, while the road ahead is not mapped, we are one of the few regions with a real plan. It won’t all be smooth sailing, at times it will be tough and at times it will be uncertain. But in everything there is opportunity, and that’s what the REDS is all about.
“So, whatever the road to recovery holds, and whatever you take away from today know this: It is a road we will travel together, because we are #TeamMoretonBay.”
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