A proposal to establish an economic development steering committee consisting of MidCoast Council and local business community leaders has been backed by councillors.
The suggestion was put forward as a mayoral minute at last week's May monthly ordinary meeting by mayor, Claire Pontin.
During the last term of council some steps were taken to emphasise the need for economic development and economic stimulus across the Mid-Coast, but for a variety of reasons, this work faltered, Cr Pontin said.
"I have identified this work as a priority for this term of council and I have been meeting with the various business chambers, progress associations and local business people to gauge both the need for, and their commitment to, achieving results in this area," she said.
"This has been very favourably received and there is a level of enthusiasm to begin in a true partnership between council and the business community."
I have identified this work as a priority for this term of council and I have been meeting with the various business chambers, progress associations and local business people to gauge both the need for, and their commitment to, achieving results in this area.- MidCoast Council mayor, Claire Pontin
The 'economic development steering committee' will include presidents from MidCoast, Forster Tuncurry, Taree (Team Taree) and Gloucester business chambers.
Through this partnership, this small mayoral advisory group will help guide the establishment of an economic development strategy for the whole Mid-Coast local government area (LGA), Cr Pontin said.
The proposal was passed unanimously by attending councillors, but not without question.
Kathryn Bell and Katheryn Smith asked why chambers in Tea Gardens or Bulahdelah had not been invited to join the committee.
"I do like the concept but I do have to question why only these three chambers and not all chambers," Cr Smith.
"The president of MidCoast chamber has been reaching out to chambers in Bulahdelah and Tea Gardens and having conversations with them," deputy mayor, Alan Tickle said.
"I believe these chambers are on-board with this concept," he said.
Cr Bell said she was not against the proposal, but believed other organisations also were interested in economic development.
"(And) as a mayoral minute today was the first time this was made public; this is not open and inclusive and I don't think this is urgent," Cr Bell said.
"However, it is incredibly important, I acknowledge that."
"I believe it would have been better served as a notice of motion or a report.
"There appears there is not agricultural representation."
Cr Pontin countered: "We need to start moving on this given that we have a short term of council; we only have two and a bit years left."
She assured progress would be reported to council regularly.
Committee would, in the first instance, provide advice and input into the composition of terms of reference for and the operation of a broader consultative committee to consult with all stakeholders in the development of an economic development strategy, Cr Pontin said.
"Because the work to create an economic development strategy will take some time, the steering committee will also advise on, and participate in, some ready-to-run projects to help deliver economic stimulus in the short-term."
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