The first Regional Prosperity Report Card was presented at today’s Ordinary Meeting showing that Council is on track to deliver key activities and initiatives from the Scenic Rim Regional Prosperity Strategy 2020–2025 to stimulate the Scenic Rim’s future economic growth and sustainability.
The strategy is designed to support the creation of valuable jobs for locals. It features five pillars – business and industry development, marketing and promotion, investment facilitation, education and workforce development and advocacy for infrastructure.
The Regional Prosperity Report Card highlights activity delivered between February 2020, when the strategy was adopted, and 30 June 2021.
Under the first pillar, Business and Industry Development, Council continues to lead by example, maximising local buying and sourcing 32% (or $17.9 million) of its contestable materials and services, in the Scenic Rim region during the financial year.
Other initiatives delivered under the Council’s COVID Economic Stimulus Package, such as the Façade Improvement Scheme and Digital and E-commerce Grant Scheme, were well supported by local businesses, attracting 33 applications. Over $38,000 in funds were awarded and a further $123,878 in local expenditure was generated with local businesses as a result of these programs.
The Scenic Rim was the second local government authority in Queensland to become a ‘Small Business Friendly Council’, signing a charter with the region’s five Chambers of Commerce and the Office of the Queensland Small Business Commissioner. This Charter recognises Council’s commitment to prompt payment terms, fair procurement, to communicate and engage, and to support resilience and recovery.
Under the Marketing and Promotion pillar, the Report Card outlines how Council delivered a three-phase destination marketing campaign, funded under a bushfire recovery grant and based on the ‘Richest Place on Earth’ creative concept. This campaign was incredibly successful, delivering over $1 million in editorial coverage across television, radio, print and online media, over $1.1 million in campaign value due to reach and engagement with its audiences, and a 360% increase in leads generated to Scenic Rim tourism operators’ websites and booking platforms. As a result of these increases in awareness and engagement, visitor trips to the region between March 2020 and March 2021 rose up 15.2%, despite the impacts of COVID. This is an amazing result, given that other destinations, including Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, saw drops in their visitor trips over the same period of between 15% and 54%.
According to the Report Card, the region also supported the staging of 13 regional events via grants of $39,000, that collectively delivered an economic impact of $4.3 million to the region.
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said that under its Investment Facilitation pillar, the Regional Prosperity Strategy had delivered on outcomes to facilitate investment in the region, with 35 pre-lodgement meetings held between development applicants and Council’s Planning and Regional Prosperity officers, as well as 34 of the newly introduced concept meetings. Building approvals for the period totalled $140 million.
Under the Strategy’s Education and Workforce Development pillar, Council delivered the World of Work Business and Careers Expo, which attracted 350 attendees and 35 exhibitors, connecting school leavers and job seekers with the region’s employers. It also supported 56 businesses through employment outcomes and 60 with training outcomes, while two pilot projects in hospitality and agriculture were rolled out, to engage, train and place new workers into entry level roles.
Under the Advocacy for Infrastructure pillar, Council was able to secure $20.2 million in funding from the Queensland Government, $26 million from the Australian Government and nearly $9 million in co-funded grant funds.
“These are projects that will continue to support and grow our economy and Council has demonstrated and that it is committed to developing strategies that will reinvigorate all sectors of our region and meet the expectations of our broader community,” Mayor Christensen said.
David Kassulke, President of the Beaudesert Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged the excellent working relationship developed between Council and the Chamber and the roll-out of important initiatives in support of local businesses and tourism.
“Council’s Regional Prosperity team work to promote all areas of tourism, industry and small business promotion,” he said.
“Our Chamber members are already time poor and their resources are stretched – especially in these COVID challenged times – but our business operators persevere and go on with providing their goods and services, and the local employment opportunities to our community.
“We rely on the assistance of Council officers to help provide promotion and advancement of our region as a whole Scenic Rim brand which is ultimately to the benefit of everyone within the Scenic Rim,” he said. The Regional Prosperity Report Card is available to download from Council’s website www.scenicrim.qld.gov.au/rps