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Message from the RDA Central Coast Chair – December 2019

20-12-18

As we all draw near to the end of another year, Regional Development Australia Central Coast (RDACC) would like to extend its very best wishes to the broader Central Coast community and wish you all the very best for the Christmas season and beyond.

Christmas is a time for reflection and consideration of the year that has gone before, and as we look back over the year that was, we see that a new era of collaboration and consolidation has begun on the Central Coast.

It’s been a productive year for RDACC, with 2018 bringing to fruition much of the work happening behind the scenes with our collaborators and project partners to establish major regional economic and employment initiatives.

Collaboration is alive and well here on the Central Coast and this year we’ve witnessed when we get good people around the right table, at the right time, we achieve positive outcomes for our entire region.

We’ve also observed a shift in the centre of the collaborative table to focus across the entire Central Coast community, as collaborators and project partners work toward improved outcomes across the region.

2018 has seen RDACC continue our role in building strategic and collaborative partnerships between all levels of government, industry and community to strengthen the position, productivity and competitiveness of the Central Coast, and we were recently recognised by a $120,000 grant from the NSW Government to help us continue to drive economic and employment outcomes across the region.

RDACC has been proud to work together with all of our MPs and elected representatives, as well as government, non-government, industry, educational and community leaders to achieve positive results for our community.

With the appointment of a permanent CEO for Central Coast Council, Gary Murphy, we are beginning to reap the benefits of strong leadership at all three levels of government. Together with Mayor, Jane Smith, this appointment has solidified local government leadership for the Central Coast and enabled a viable and sustainable approach to the economic development of our entire region.

RDACC has continued to lead the Central Coast Regional Economic Development & Employment Strategy (REDES), with a review of the Central Coast Infrastructure Priorities List taking place to identify and highlight crucial priorities for our region. The Infrastructure Priority List processes have now directly attracted over $800M of funding for critical infrastructure across the Central Coast. This important collaborative process effort will recommence again in 2019.

In 2018, we were particularly pleased to welcome government announcements of close to $50M for essential infrastructure upgrades in the Gosford CBD, and a $4.6M investment in regional tourism infrastructure that will benefit our entire community.

This year has also seen RDACC continue to drive the Central Coast Food Innovation Initiative, designed to harness our region’s strengths, and grow and support this critical industry sector.

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) early in the year between RDACC, Central Coast Industry Connect (CCIC), University of Newcastle (UON) and Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NEIR), laid a strong foundation to grow jobs and build regional business competitiveness through innovation, education and research across our local food industry.

Staging the first-ever Food Futures event served to bring together industry leaders and food experts to position the Central Coast as a leading food destination through collaborative industry and community partnerships.

In 2018, RDACC has also been proud to be a part of:
• Development of funding applications to drive the development of three new Job Precinct Developments, as part of a joint taskforce led by the NSW Government Coordinator General, including continuing lobbying and advocacy for potential Snowy Hydro scheme funding.
• Establishment of education to industry pathways, partnering with the University of Newcastle (UON) on a variety of projects including Global Scope, the Central Coast Food Showcase, the Illumin8 Series and working together with UON, TAFE NSW, Central Coast Community College, the P-Tech pilot program and private providers to facilitate educational pathways through the REDES program.
• Working together with the Central Coast Apprenticeship & Traineeship Advisory Committee to support vocational pathways, including successfully delivering the 2018 Try-A-Skill Forum that saw more than 800 secondary students from 26 schools gain hands on experience across 32 vocations.
• Continuing partnership with Central Coast Council and Arts NSW to deliver a $460,000 regional initiative to support and guide our local creative industries.
• Support for our local community sector by partnering in the successful delivery of the 2018 Not-for-Profit Forum Series, which attracted more than 250 representatives from 150 different organisations.
• The Central Coast Medical Precinct Taskforce established by the Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science to boost jobs, investment and opportunity.
• Partnership with the Australian Green Tea Company to guide the development of a local tea industry.

To all of our project partners, collaborators, MPs and elected representatives, government, industry and community leaders in 2018, we thank you for your work and dedication to improving the quality of outcomes, experiences and opportunities for every person who lives, works or visits the Central Coast.

On the home front, RDACC welcomed a new-look board in 2018. With five out of 12 positions granted to newly-elected members, we’ve achieved an ideal combination of experience and fresh ideas. Comprising a cross-section of representatives, a three-year tenure enables the strategic and sustainable delivery of regional outcomes.

To our RDACC Board members and our Director Regional Development, John Mouland, I would like to thank each and every one of you for your enthusiasm and generosity in sharing your skills and expertise for the betterment of our entire community.

I look forward to continuing to work with you all to create more jobs, attract investment, and increase opportunities across the Central Coast through the establishment of a strong and collaborative region that is built on a reputation of innovation, prosperity and cooperation, in 2019 and beyond.

RDACC would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our project partners, local business representatives and members of the Central Coast community a safe, happy and enjoyable Christmas season. We hope your festive celebrations are filled with love and laughter and we look forward to reconnecting with you all in the new year.

Merry Christmas

PHIL WALKER
RDACC Chair