WHILE only 32% of Australians call regional Australia home; 67% of Australia’s exports come from the regions.
Regional Development Northern Rivers has just launched its Business Plan for 2014 and 2015 and its focus is on doing even more to connect Northern Rivers businesses with national and international markets.
With only 14.2% of Northern Rivers businesses employing more than five people, the priority for Regional Development’s 2014-15 Business Plan is empowering more local businesses to grow and employ five or more full-time employees.
RDA is receiving lots of loud and clear feedback that the lack of city-priced commercial quality broadband is barrier to the region’s businesses connecting to national and international markets.
Extensive work is being done to address this barrier to growth, but there are other structural and infrastructure issues RDA is well placed to advocate for business, including roads and reduction of red-tape at all levels of government.
The Northern Rivers is identified as one of the 20 most disadvantaged regions in Australia, with unemployment at 8.5%, compared to the NSW average of 5.9%.
The Northern Rivers Local Government Area population growth is at 1.8% for Ballina, 2.5% for Lismore and 3.3% for Clarence, compared to 5.6% state average.