Scenic Rim Regional Council, Media Release, 20 August 2021
Council is working in partnership with industry to deliver a 10-year road map and a three-year strategic plan for the Scenic Rim’s agribusiness and agritourism operators.
This project is funded from the Queensland Government’s Bushfire Recovery Fund and is designed to guide and drive economic growth, jobs, innovation and resilience for industries hard hit by natural disasters.
The grant of $200,000, administered by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, was awarded to Council to deliver a ‘Go Local, Grow Local’ program and the agribusiness and agritourism road map and strategy.
The project is part of phase two of Council’s Agribusiness and Agritourism Industry Development Program.
In response to requests from industry leaders, Council secured three separate grants to support all three phases of the Program, which aligns with the Scenic Rim Regional Prosperity Strategy 2020-2025.
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said the three-phase Program is focused on supporting the region’s agriculture and tourism industries, which collectively contribute in excess of $463 million annually to the local economy.
“Together these two industry sectors are critically important to the Scenic Rim, to create employment prospects for residents and to support growth of local businesses,” Cr Christensen said.
“Targeted stakeholder engagement has commenced for the 10-year road map and three-year strategy with action plan, which is being developed by industry specialist, PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia (PwC), and is expected to be adopted and made public in early 2022.
“The seeds of this project date back to January 2020, when a group of primary producers formed an informal group called Scenic Rim Agriculture, Food and Agritourism Network (Network) and approached Council to support their vision for future growth.
“The Network’s goals included formalising an industry leadership group, capacity building to improve the industry’s resilience to climatic and economic changes, and to develop a clear road map to guide the next decade.
“This call from industry prompted our officers to pursue potential grant opportunities in consultation with Councillors about different funding streams.
“Once funding was secured for phase two of the Program in November last year, we partnered with industry again, by inviting two external agricultural producers to join the panel to assess the competitive submissions from suitably qualified companies.
“The Brisbane-based team from PwC was ultimately successful and were appointed to the project and an inception meeting was held in early April 2021 to finalise the project plan,” Cr Christensen said.
Sean O’Meara, Partner at PwC Australia, Brisbane office, said his team is proud to be working with the Scenic Rim Regional Council and key stakeholders in the development of phase two of the Agribusiness and Agritourism Industry Development Program.
“Our team understands the importance of the agribusiness and agritourism sectors to regional communities like the Scenic Rim and, and more specifically, the economic contribution and potential for industry development in these sectors,” Mr O’Meara said.
Cr Christensen said PwC recently updated Councillors and Executive on their findings to date, based on their desktop review and initial stakeholder engagement.
“Councillors provided their feedback on the extensive list of industry stakeholders and asked for additional producers to be consulted, which have been included.
“PwC specialists are continuing their consultation with many of our agribusiness and agritourism operators to finalise the 10-year road map and three-year strategy with action plan, which will include the needs and requirements of the region’s food and drink producers, processors and distributors, identification of gaps in the system and opportunities for efficiencies.
“We look forward to continuing to partner with industry to deliver on Council’s long-term commitment to advocate for agriculture-based future industry opportunities,” Cr Christensen 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 agribusiness 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.
- This phase has concluded, with a close out report currently being prepared by officers in conjunction with Regionality and will subsequently be reported back to Council.
- 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.
- Council was successful in securing $200,000 from the Bushfire Recovery Fund administered by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, for 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, in addition to funding a ‘Go Local, Grow Local’ program.
- The 10-year road map and three-year strategy with action plan is being developed by industry specialist, PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia (PwC), and is expected to be adopted and made public in early 2022.
- 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 agribusiness and agritourism 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, under Phase 1, an additional seven participants were included in a 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