Blue Mountains News

Council to Assist Local Economy to Recover and Develop

Source: Blue Mountains City Council
Posted: 31 May 2020
Working in close partnership with key tourism and local business stakeholders, Blue Mountains City Council will play a stronger role in leading and facilitating economic and tourism development within the City. This follows Council adoption of the recommendations from an independent review of Council’s governance arrangements in the area.

The recent review resulted in a revised governance model, endorsed by Councillors at the Council Meeting on 26 May 2020, which sets a new strategic direction that benefits the local economy and tourism industry.

Council will help lead recovery of the City – following recent disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic – to ensure an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable Blue Mountains into the future.

Council Chief Executive Officer Dr Rosemary Dillon said Council would not enter into a new funding agreement with Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise (BMEE) for 2020/21 onwards, but instead use that funding to implement a revised sustainable economic development and tourism strategy on behalf of the City and in close consultation with key stakeholders.

Dr Dillon thanked the BMEE Board for their significant contribution to the City over the last eight years.

“There has been a significant change in the strategic and operating environment for Economic Development and Tourism in the Blue Mountains, since the current governance arrangements were established,” she said.

“BMEE has made a significant contribution to economic development in the Blue Mountains. However, the current unprecedented shocks from bush fires and COVID-19 combined with the need for coordinated city, economic and tourism planning – as well as strong leadership and partnerships with other levels of government and key stakeholders – necessitates a new, revitalised governance model to drive economic recovery and sustainable economic development into the future.”

Deputy Mayor, Councillor Chris Van der Kley, also thanked BMEE for their commitment to the City. “As a former Director of BMEE, I’d like to thank all present and past board members and staff for their service to the Blue Mountains. I’d especially like to thank BMEE Chairman Don Luscombe for his service since BMEE’s inception.”

Council will coordinate the development of the new economic development and tourism strategy with key stakeholders, such as Destination NSW, Tourism Australia and the Blue Mountains Accommodation & Tourism Association (BMATA).

“We will formalise a collaborative partnership between Council and BMATA, bringing together local government and local industry to drive tourism outcomes,” Dr Dillon said.

“Council will establish an Expert Independent Advisory Panel for economic development to access high-priority expertise, experience and insights. We will also continue the Mayoral Reference Group for Business as a primary interface between Council, Chambers of Commerce and local business.”

Council is committed to continuing key economic development initiatives established by BMEE Charter, including Creative Industries MNTS MADE and the annual Australian Bushfire Building Conference.

By December 2020, Council will have:

  • Delivered the economic development and tourism strategy for the Blue Mountains, to Council for adoption.
  • Commenced recruitment of the Expert Independent Advisory Panel.
  • Continued an outreach review of towns and villages, engaging the Mayoral Reference Group for Business in the process.
  • Investigated the establishment of a Town / Business investment fund, to be channeled through the Mayoral Reference Group for Business.
  • Delivered updates to local and regional stakeholders, and
  • Continued to develop ‘ready to roll-out’ programs, by sector, to assist in the recovery of the local economy.

“Working in partnership with key stakeholders and the community, Council will prioritise local economic recovery and develop strategies that support achievement of a more economically sustainable and successful Blue Mountains,” Dr Dillon said.

Council’s elected body, Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and Economic Development & Tourism (EDT) Unit will implement a revised economic development and tourism strategy on behalf of the City, in close consultation with key stakeholders.
 
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