Phase 1 of Council’s grant-funded Agribusiness and Agritourism Industry Development Program was the catalyst for the formation of an Industry Steering Group that is ready to broaden its representation of Scenic Rim producers and food businesses.
Industry Steering Group Chair Deb Richardson, of Running Creek Beef, said through this program, Council created the opportunity and pathway for farming and food business representatives to come together formally for the first time.
“Bringing us together under the guidance of agribusiness specialist, Regionality, to professionally establish the Industry Steering Group is the realisation of a long-held goal for many in the agriculture and hospitality sectors,” she said.
“We are in the process of becoming a legal entity and will soon be reaching out more broadly to farmers, makers and food businesses to consult on our future direction.
“In response to industry requests Council advocated for the funds for the program, and we look forward to continuing to work collaboratively to grow the sector further.”
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said Council secured three separate grants to support all three phases of the Agribusiness and Agritourism Industry Development Program, specifically targeted at two of the region’s largest industries, agriculture, and tourism, which collectively contribute more than $463 million annually to our local economy.
“In Phase 1 Queensland Bushfire Category C funding, which is administered by the Department of Communities, was directed towards the appointment of agri-business specialist, Rose Wright from Regionality, who not only assisted with the formation of the Industry Steering Group, but her team also delivered a series of successful workshops, and mentoring and business development for 15 local producers and operators over a period of six months,” he said.
“We’re seeing the benefits already with new businesses activated by the program joining the most recent Farm Gate Trail and new product collaborations thanks to connections made during the workshops.
“Council would also like to acknowledge and thank the Department of Communities, Chambers of Commerce and Destination Scenic Rim for the success of Phase 1.
Cr Christensen said Phase 2 of the Program will deliver a 10-year road map and a three-year strategy with action plan for the Scenic Rim’s agribusiness and agritourism operators, with drafts expected to be made public in early 2022 for further consultation.
“Industry specialist, PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia (PwC) are continuing their consultation to include the needs and requirements of the region’s food and drink producers, processors and distributors, and to identify gaps in the system and opportunities for efficiencies,” he said.
Ms Richardson said it is the perfect time for Council to be working alongside industry on a 10-year road map and a three-year strategic plan for agribusiness and agritourism.
“The completion of Phase 1 meant the Industry Steering Group could contribute positively to PwC’s consultation on the future direction of agriculture-based opportunities,” she said.
Summary of Council’s Agribusiness and Agritourism Industry Development Program
- Council was successful in securing $100,000 under the Queensland Bushfire Category C funding, administered by the Department of Communities, to restore and grow agri-food and agritourism sectors.
- These funds were directed towards the appointment of an agri-business specialist, Regionality, to assist with the formation of an Industry Steering Group and development of a strategic agenda and list of priorities for that group; as well as the provision of a series of workshops, and mentoring and business development for 15 local producers and operators.
- The Industry Steering Group is in the process of formally becoming a legal entity and the Business Development Program participants have concluded their official workshops and mentoring.
- A close out report was presented to Council’s Ordinary Meeting on 7 December 2021.
- Council was successful in securing $200,000 from the Bushfire Recovery Fund administered by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, with $150,000 of this to be allocated to the development of a 10-year road map, and a three-year strategic plan, to guide and drive growth and innovation in the agribusiness and agritourism sectors, and $50,000 to be directed towards the development and delivery of a ‘Go Local, Grow Local’ program.
- Utilising a proportion of the grant the 10-year road map and three-year strategy with action plan is being developed by industry specialist, PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia (PwC), and the drafts are expected to be made public in early 2022 for further consultation.
- The Go Local, Grow Local program is being developed in conjunction with key stakeholders and will be rolled out with input from the region’s five Chambers of Commerce.
- Council has received $1 million from the Australian Government’s Drought Community Program – Extension, $200,000 of which was allocated towards the ongoing development of an agri-business and agri-tourism industry cluster group program, focused on working with the agricultural industry to build capacity and capability, provide mentoring support to diversify within the industry or modify existing practices to incorporate other income streams.
- Based on the success of the initial Business Development Program, delivered by Regionality under Phase 1, an additional seven participants were included in a follow up mentoring program in Phase 3.
- Other key projects under this phase are currently being developed with industry.
For more information about the Program, please contact Council’s Regional Prosperity team on 07 5540 5111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.