New plans to boost the Richmond Valley economy

PLANNING is underway for a new strategy to strengthen the Richmond Valley’s economy and support existing and emerging industries and Richmond Valley Council is inviting the community to share its feedback on the discussion paper.

The economic development strategy will set out a plan for how Council will support long-term economic growth and prosperity for its community.

To help Council develop the new strategy, a discussion paper titled Directions for Richmond Valley’s Economic Development was produced by Sea & Star Advisory, which also prepared an economic impacts statement for Council following last year’s two flood events.

This discussion paper is available here:

The discussion paper is intended to prompt conversations about how to make our economy more resilient. It proposes five strategic directions to achieve that vision:

1. Increase economic scale through the flood rebuild.
2. Foster lifestyle and tourism markets for stronger local services.
3. Secure agriculture’s supply chains and pursue growing markets.
4. Broaden the Valley’s manufacturing and industrial base.
5. Grow the population and labour force through new precincts.

According to General Manager Vaughan Macdonald, the new economic development strategy will help to inform the Community Strategic Plan and complement Council’s Draft Richmond Valley Growth Management Strategy and the Regional Jobs Precinct initiative.

Mr Macdonald said flood recovery remained the immediate priority, but the aspiration should be not just to rebuild, but to re-position the Valley for a stronger future.

He said Council was applying a three-part framework to maximise local economic potential: identify different drivers of growth; foster depth and capacity in key integrated markets; and leverage specific local advantages.

“Business is the activity which will make things happen in the Richmond Valley, and economic growth is what we want to encourage – and that applies to all businesses, big and small,” Mr Macdonald said.

“Our Growth Management Strategy sets an ambitious target to grow the Valley’s population over the next 20 years, so we need to be ready to explore these new opportunities and create a sustainable and resilient economic future.

“The economic development strategy will set out a short-to-medium term framework, with high-level actions for the Valley’s economic recovery and long-term prosperity.

“This approach is about strengthening our whole community and widening the benefits of our economic development initiatives.”

Mr Macdonald said the Richmond Valley was already a leader in primary industries and food manufacturing enterprises and it was Council’s intention to make it the number one choice for doing business.

He said Council had an important role to play in creating the right conditions for investment, employment and growth.

“Our number one, long-term goal is to make the Richmond Valley a viable region; a place where prosperity and growth are shared for the benefit of all,” Mr Macdonald said.

“Combined with the Regional Jobs Precinct initiative, these strategies will ensure that the Richmond Valley is well positioned for the future – socially, environmentally and economically – to become the Northern Rivers’ regional industry hub.”

Council welcomes feedback on the discussion paper which is available through the On Exhibition section of Council’s website at

Discussions to be led by Sea & Star Advisory have been scheduled for businesses between 15 and 16 March at Casino, Coraki, Woodburn and Evans Head.

To register interest in attending please email Latoya Cooper at

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