Knowledge-intensive economic development*
Economic development is more than ever before reliant on the growth and success of knowledge-intensive jobs and industries.
Throughout Australia many regions are witness to the emergence of new investment, business activity and employment growth in knowledge-based sectors.
So how can the regions tap into this new vein of global wealth? If Australia’s regions are to prosper, they will need to look for ways to add value to their traditional industrial pursuits, focussing on new ideas and problem-solving to drive income generation and employment. For local government, which has a multitude of economic development roles and functions, it can start by identifying and understanding those industries that will drive future prosperity and then look for ways to facilitate their development.
Industries with a relatively high ‘knowledge content’ and which present opportunities for growth in your region or local government area may include for example: new and more advanced forms of manufacturing; specialist health care and wellbeing; scientific and technical services to agriculture including specialist agriculture-related research and technology industries; technical services to mining; the professional services (legal, financial, etc.); and the creative industries, particularly creative services like architecture and design, communications and marketing and digital content.
The largest increase in jobs in Australia are those that require higher-level qualifications. This continuing trend will influence the workforce requirements of Australia’s rural, regional and suburban centres which will need to become increasingly oriented towards knowledge-intensive industries. Hence, any strategy to attract and facilitate knowledge-based economic development will require councils to engage with, amongst others, the local area’s or wider region’s tertiary education and training institutions.
Efforts to build local knowledge-intensive industries will require strategies that deliver access to the latest education and training infrastructure and services, to build economic resilience and to future-proof local economies in the face of continuing global economic change.