Hogan ready to door knock big business for Northern Rivers

PAGE MP Kevin Hogan has launched an audacious plan to attract big employers to the Northern Rivers by spruiking the region's best assets.

The plan is being launched as the latest employment figures for the Richmond-Tweed show unemployment at 9.3% and youth unemployment at 17.9%.  

Kevin Hogan MP.
Kevin Hogan MP.

Plan of attack

Yesterday Mr Hogan held a strategic meeting with local business and community leaders to finalise a shortlist of businesses which will be literally doorknocked.

One of the businesses is believed to be based on the Gold Coast currently employing up to 300 people in the online sector, while another is a Sydney manufacturing business with 3-400 employees. 

Mr Hogan said the region offered a host of benefits for expanding businesses. 

"One, we're a great place to live. 

"Where would you rather live, in the western suburbs of Sydney, or the Northern Rivers of NSW?

It's an easy answer.

"People often move here without a job.

"That youth unemployment statistic is exactly the reason we want people to move here.

"Two, it's cheaper for them to set up here. 

"If they are going to build a new warehouse... it's very cheap to do it here relative to the capital cities.

"Three, you'd have lower staff turnover. Your competitors aren't going to be next door like they are in the cities."

Timing is right

r Hogan also said the "timing was right" on key infrastructure such as the NBN rollout and the Pacific Highway duplication to attract companies.

With the bulk of the NBN complete here by 2017, he said the Northern Rivers would get broadband quicker than some capital city areas.

Another related plan is the creation of a business incubator hub with support from Southern Cross University to draw small start-ups to the Lismore region with special incentives.

SCU vice chancellor Peter Lee was at yesterday's meeting, alongside general managers from four local council areas, staff from Regional Development Australia Northern Rivers, and local business people. 

Certainty and flexibility

Lismore City Council general manager Gary Murphy said the council was learning that businesses valued both "certainty and flexibility". 

Mr Hogan said about five companies were on the shortlist, with two key targets:

"We'll be picking up the phone this afternoon and making appointments to see certain companies."

"I don't think we've sold ourselves well enough, I think we have a great product to sell and I'm very optimistic about what we're doing."  

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