Think tank for growth opportunities

Meet: Ben Vonthethoff (RAI), Darren Turner (MiniJumbuk), mayor Erika Vickey (LCLGA), David Spear (RAI)  Frank DiGiorgio (DiGiorgio Wines) and Sandy Talbot (president Naracoorte Lucindale Business and Tourism Association).
Meet: Ben Vonthethoff (RAI), Darren Turner (MiniJumbuk), mayor Erika Vickey (LCLGA), David Spear (RAI) Frank DiGiorgio (DiGiorgio Wines) and Sandy Talbot (president Naracoorte Lucindale Business and Tourism Association).

New research is underway in the Limestone Coast to potentially provide for billions of dollars in growth opportunities.

The Limestone Coast Local Government association has partnered with the Regional Australia Institute to identify priorities that will strengthen the region’s economy.

RAI representatives last week spent time in the Limestone Coast region meeting with the seven councils and business delegates. The Regional Australia Institute is a think tank devoted to issues concerning regional Australia.

RAI General Manager of partnerships David Spear said the RAI initiative had a “solid track record”.

“We are looking at the growth trajectory of the Limestone Coast region’s economy, highlighting strengths and detecting weaknesses”. He said the study would identify the top three to five “game changing” areas to give the best return to the Limestone Coast economy and community.

“Through data insight and analysis we will be able to quantify the greatest anticipated benefits that can be achieved if constraining issues are addressed,” he said.

RAI’s visit the region this week is about “ground truthing” the analysis the institute has already complied.

“We are seeing an economic transition going on in the region, including the shift towards services particularly in the health and social type services,” Mr Spear said.

He revealed the competitive strengths of key industries in agribusiness, forestry and fishing as residual fundamental economic contributors.

While opportunities needed to be driven by other sectors the leading analyst warned the region could not take its “eyes off the ball” in growing the competitive advantage of these key industries.

“The data analysis shows the region has some real potential in growing the regions business vitality, innovation and entrepreneurialism. The project is about being on the front foot and having a business case,” Mr Spear said.

Local Government Association president mayor Erika Vickery said the project would direct councils to where they can get “most bang from the buck” and would allow councils to put their energies behind these strategies.

“Growth factors are the set of core issues that must be addressed to ensure that a region’s full potential is reached. Local government together with business leaders and stakeholders will be the key drivers as the region transitions, and the region as a whole takes advantage of emerging opportunities and addresses the challenges ahead,” mayor Vickery said.