GROWTH REPORTER: Dr Leonie Pearson's studies show the economic status of cities in the bush.
GROWTH REPORTER: Dr Leonie Pearson's studies show the economic status of cities in the bush. Contributed

Dealing Coffs Harbour into the top regional city spot

CITY Deals are the future of Federal Government investment aiming to stimulate national economic growth.

The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) is pursuing a new agenda to support and enhance the contribution of towns, small cities and areas that lie beyond the major capital cities.

Two reports written and released by Dr Leonie Pearson in June are interesting.

Firstly, Lighting Up Our Great Small Cities: Challenging Misconceptions.

This analysis of 31 regional cities with a lot of statistics has a key message that collectively, regional cities expanded their economies by 3% per year from 2001-2013.

They share a comparable economic performance with major cities across the key measures of growth, output, participation and productivity.

The report debunks existing myths about regional cities of low growth, being left behind in the knowledge economy and being too small to matter.

However, achieving sustainable growth into the future will require a locally tailored policy approach.

Dr Pearson's other report is Blueprint for Investing in City Deals: Are you Ready to Deal?

This highlights how regional cities are now explicitly part of the Australian Government's City Deals Collaborative Program and asks two broad questions.

Are the economic engines ready?

Is the city ready to deal?

To answer these it uses evidenced-based examples from the UK experience and provides a scorecard on each city by measuring 14 indicators across the four key criteria - business dynamo, specialisation, workforce engagement, and lifestyle.

So what would a Coffs Harbour City Deal look like?

Through City Deals, governments, industry and communities will develop collective plans for growth and commit to the actions, investments, reforms and governance needed to implement them.

Does Coffs Harbour have what it takes to be in the next City Deal and if not, how will deal making help the city to become the No.1 regional city?

Dr Pearson will present and share insights on the City Deals program on Tuesday, November 21, from 7am at Coffs Harbour Golf Club.

The talk will provide an outline of nine ingredients for success and present comparative data on Coffs Harbour economic performance and identify areas of opportunity.

To book contact the office on or

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