Investing in the long term

Kempsey Shire Council in New South Wales decided to invest in a long term strategy to foster economic growth and prosperity. It has established and funded a company, which operates independently of Council, and is answerable to an elected board.

The company established the Macleay Valley Economic Development Trust to conduct its operations. The Trust's aims include job creation and retention; attracting private investment to stimulate economic growth and development; and fostering an export/import replacement culture.

The autonomous board is able to use private development techniques for public purposes and adopt a long term approach to economic development in the local community. It can work with both public and private sectors with speed and flexibility. It is also able to attract both public and private resources, which can be combined within the same project. Importantly, revenues can be retained for program expansion and reinvestment.

Since its inception in 1998, the Trust has been involved in many projects, small and large. By far the largest project is the South West Rocks Aquaculture Project. This project is a vertically integrated, multi species program being established over five and ten year periods in the ocean and river waters of the Macleay Valley on the mid north coast of New South Wales.

"The ideology behind this multi staged development concept is straight forward,'" said Project Director, Howard Kerr.

"We are aiming to produce our own 'home grown' seafood in the most cost effective manner maximising returns to investors, creating many jobs and injecting money into the local community."

It is expected that in the next three to five years 14 separate plants will start operating. These include hatcheries, growout farms, processing facilities and associated activities, such as feed, packaging, training and energy supply as well as a tourist company.

Projected sales from this export orientated project are $22 million within five years and $43 million within ten years. A $30 million investment, it will employ an anticipated 200 people and return an average 15 percent on sales.

For further information contact Howard Kerr, telephone (02) 6562 3313.