'Acres of Opportunity' in Clifton

Tucked away between Warwick and Toowoomba, the Shire of Clifton, population 2,500, has found its low key style to be a potential springboard in a campaign for revitalisation.

First settled by Europeans in 1837, Clifton was one of the first places on the Darling Downs to be taken up by pastoralists. The towns of Clifton and Nobby remain intact as examples of early Australian rural life.

Communications Officer Tony Kelly said this in itself provides an economic development opportunity. "As a location for film production there are lots of advantages," he said. "Crews can come here from Brisbane in just a couple of hours rather than having to travel further west with all their equipment.

"We can provide an authentic streetscape for period dramas plus other location needs. In addition, we can provide catering and other requirements."

Being an ideal location for film production is just one of many strengths identified in a study of the Shire's potential conducted by the Business Faculty at the University of South Queensland. These findings will underpin a new corporate strategy for the Shire.

In promoting the Shire's positive aspects it is hoped some of the area's problems, such as lack of youth employment opportunities, will be overcome. Tony Kelly said the area has much to offer businesses relocating to the Shire.

These include good quality affordable housing, first class recreational facilities, good infrastructure, a pleasant, family environment, a diversified and highly computerised existing industry, easy access to Brisbane and low crime rate.

These advantages have given rise to a new logo and slogan to match the proactive philosophy Council has adopted, 'Acres of Opportunity'.

Council initiatives already undertaken include the construction of a 40 place child care centre, conversion of the old railway station to a youth drop in centre, production of a handbook for filmmakers to assist with production timing and a business directory to improve local business networks.

"We are not expecting to witness a massive change overnight," Tony Kelly said. "But we are working to build on what we have, to reverse the trend of services and industry moving away from rural areas and to reinvigorate the spirit of the Shire."

For further information contact Tony Kelly, telephone (07) 4697 4222.