Mayor confident downturn will be short-term

Bob Hawke in Toowoomba.
Bob Hawke in Toowoomba. Nev Madsen

MAYOR'S DESK: While the downturn in the resources industry is having a marked impact on our region, we believe the pain will be short-term, and our remarkable diversity will continue to provide a buffer for any prolonged effect of the move from construction to maintenance for a number of major projects.

In fact, recently, Toowoomba was named one of Australia's most diverse economies, recognising our breadth of industry as a key strength in the future prosperity of the region.

In the Regional Australia Institute's study, Toowoomba ranked in the top 11% nationally for having a diversified economy.

We believe one of the real developing opportunities is the further growth of the agriculture and food production industries.

As the commercial and economic hub of the Darling Downs, our agriculture and agribusiness sector continues to be a key economic driver for the region.

MAYOR'S DESK

Indeed, we are one of the leading agriculture producing regions in Australia, and importantly, we are now focusing on developing our value-add and processing capability.

Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise, council's driver for high-level economic development, is doing some excellent work in this area, supporting the sector with a particular focus on export and innovation.

Initiatives by TSBE assist members to link with emerging markets, build export capability, identify and incorporate innovation to increase profitability and competitiveness.

With the Asian Century upon us, TSBE is proactively promoting the region's export capabilities and seeking new opportunities for local producers.

Market research around protein foods opportunities in China, targeted delegations and the establishment of a TSBE representative in Shanghai is accelerating the region's connection with this important trading partner in particular.

Late last week, former prime minister Bob Hawke was in Toowoomba, at the invitation of TSBE, to address those interested in pursuing a trade relationship with China.

Mr Hawke, who continues to work on developing links with China, highlighted the strength of the demand for fresh, safe and clean food in the Chinese market and encouraged producers to seize the opportunities presented by "Asia's food boom".

We are very fortunate to have Mr Hawke as a key advocate for the capability of our region and his support is indicative of the wealth of opportunity that exists in this region.



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