Open for business

Lismore has long been the regional centre for the Far North Coast of New South Wales. On the doorstep of three World Heritage rainforests, Council's theme 'Between Rainforests and the Sea' clearly reflects what the region has to offer particularly in the area of ecotourism. Add to this, Lismore's cultural diversity, vibrant business sector, world class sporting and educational facilities, and the opportunities abound.

To maximise the area's full potential, Council recently completed its 2020 Strategic Plan. An extensive consultation process, tapping into the ideas and expertise of all stakeholder groups in the community, has resulted in Council winning a Statewide award for Innovation in Regional Development.

"The Strategic Plan, which was adopted by Council in January, will be linked to a three year rolling management plan that will underpin all our planning and operations," said the Mayor, Cr Jeff Champion.

He said that in response to a key issue identified in the 2020 Strategic Plan of giving higher priority to economic development initiatives, Council has already changed its Organisation Structure to include a Business and Enterprise Group. The newly formed Economic Development Unit will work closely with the business sector, as well as promote investment and new job opportunities.

In addition, an Economic Development Advisory Board has been set up. This will provide a direct two way link between the Council and the business community.

The Mayor said that Council's new Business and Enterprise Group, headed by Group Manager John Cox, is also reviewing all Council's business activities to ensure they are competitive and operate on a commercial basis.

"This will enable Council to prepare for the market testing of its activities as a prelude to competitive tendering," Cr Champion said. "It also ensures greatest returns for every rate dollar spent."

The Mayor added that part and parcel of a more business like approach, and maximising potential for growth opportunities, is the changing image of Lismore.

Using the concept 'Gateway to the Rainforest', Council's recent CBD streetscape beautification works and new signage will be further enhanced by a $1.2 million facelift planned for busy Magellan Street. A new 24 hour Transit Convenience Centre is also planned for this year.

The $425,000 Transit Centre will provide fully supervised convenience and information services for bus travellers, tourists and those shopping in the adjacent CBD.