Economic Development Framework

The debate in Council on the very important Economic Development Framework on Wednesday was stopped by a ‘put’ motion.

This means that there is no further debate and the motion is voted on. That meant that I didn’t get to speak on this important topic…So, I have put my speaking notes below. Hope they make sense 🙂

Specific comments on industry sectors:

  • A strategy that argued for some above trend growth industry sectors, and indicated where the smart focus and investment was, would have been good.
  • Lack of any above average prospects in ‘smart’ industry due to lag in broadband; and same for manufacturing which can find better transport routes elsewhere; retail also in decline due online economy and difficult to participate without high speed broadband…where do we go?
  • Construction is going to slow and it has nothing to do with supply. Everything to do with slowing population growth.. The possible PDA projects are seen as the counter to this slowing, but there is no discussion in paper on what major projects like this would do the local sector. Real estate sales are likely to be soaked up by large projects like this and the value added small construction firms and developers that rely on redevelopment and development at smaller scales don’t get a look in…
  • Our biggest competitive advantage for our economy is our lifestyle, combined with our proximity to Brisbane. It would be a big mistake to kill our lifestyle with development that doesn’t come with infrastructure. And infrastructure bottlenecks that impact our liveability and attractiveness aren’t going away. Upstream is bad, not even close to getting downstream flow. Our government investment is important in making our liveability prime and central to future competitive advantage.
  • Tourism strategy was supposed to have been refined and redelivered over two years ago and its still hanging out there…

With regards to the committee:

  • ‘Action plans’ will now be delivered by industry representatives (?) who won’t be resourced to prepare – let alone have much of an understanding of the resources and regulatory environment of Council. What timelines do we have on these plans? Real ‘talkfest’ potential in this one…
  • Delegating ‘action plans’ s is outsourcing of our responsibility. Collaboration is one thing but this is different.
  • No geographical or community reps on the board. One could argue that for NSI, SMBI, Cleveland CBD and Capalaba they are equally important as a sector representative.

Overall

  • there is no direction here as to where we should be allocating our resources other than servicing a committee.
  • It is more a report on what is, and not about where, we need to go, much less, about how we get there.
  • Philosophically, we are all ‘open for new business’ and not enough a ‘friend of business’. We have this ‘cargo cult’ mentality that big investors are going to drop from the sky and make things good and forgetting that healthy economies come from the thousands of small businesses that are trading profitably. One of the few ‘actions’ that was making a difference to these people was the ‘business grow’ program that has been axed…if we can’t afford that program then what actions can we afford that will make a difference to our home grown businesses. These people want help, advice etc and we’ve spent our resources on a strategy that has a plan to form a committee. And now we are going to service one.
  • Our economic development efforts need framework. This ‘framework’ doesn’t deliver it.

Questions

  1. Are we doing action plans. In document the committee is but in Terms of Reference they simply provide feedback?
  2. If we are doing, who, when?
  3. Have we resourced digital strategy and island plans?
  4. Where is the tourism action plans?
  5. Why haven’t we refered to the bigger picture of plans – at least the “centre and employment strategy’ and ‘rural futures strategy’ and etc…
  6. Why not at least acknowledge the closure of mining?
  7. What does figure 10 mean? Pg 34
  8. Page 36 says we are going to do lots of things in the ‘climate change adaptation for business’ space but is it resourced?
  9. Framework implementation paradigm – are ‘innovation diversity’ and ‘labour force capacity’ our responsibility? Pg 44