The Good Oil by Rod Brown – Cowra’s pitch to Hemsworth – first-mover for other councils!

Cowra’s pitch to Hemsworth – first-mover for other councils!

I rang Cowra Shire’s Tourism Manager, Glenn Daley – the instigator – and he explained that it’s been good for tourism and for the town generally. Lots of shops have photos of Chris in their windows, and it’s been a hit on Instagram. I guess things will go really crazy when he does visit sometime next year.

It got me thinking. There are numerous councils out there with tiny marketing budgets. They could channel Cowra’s approach when the time is right, by seeking out notable Australians. Most would surely be chuffed to help with marketing and get their photos in windows? You could do even better.

To explain, a few years back Brighton Road Marketing had just completed a series of excellent video interviews with local legends in Central Darling Shire. The videos were part of a tourism marketing push.

I presume Cowra is thinking of a video with Chris Hemsworth? Would it be possible to include some local legends too? And could other communities be doing similar videos of local legends and ‘notables’ with roots in a particular town.

For example, actor Ernie Dingo is proud of his Mullewa and Geraldton WA roots. Comedian Barry Humphries has had a long association with Strathalbyn SA. Actor Michael Caton (The Castle) is also proud of his Monto Qld heritage. Comedian Fiona O’Loughlin hails from Warooka SA and Alice Springs. And BBC TV host Adam Hills reminisces about his summer holidays with his granny at Tuross Head NSW.  

I’m thinking of approaching state tourism agencies on this possibility. Please email me if you’re interested.

US-Mexico collaboration takes new tack
Mexican President Obrador wants Washington to invest in regional economic development. And United States Secretary of State Blinken agrees with him, calling for investments in growing economic opportunity, particularly for under-served communities and regions.

Obradar argues that investing in development projects would help counter not only drug trafficking, but also bloodshed (300,000 killed since 2006) and migrant flows. Biden is slated to visit Mexico and ramp things up. Gee that sounds promising.

E&Y’s strange take re. Clean Energy Exports Earnest and Young says clear federal government policy settings can deliver a clean energy export powerhouse according to an industry survey. The study, commissioned by WWF-Australia, says we are ‘uniquely positioned to capitalise’ and lead the globe in this field. The study recommends:
1. battery nation: a $500 million government investment
2. local solar: one new solar project in every community across the country – $500 million government investment
3. electric bus revolution: conversion of Australia’s buses to electric – $240 million government investment
4. conversion of our manufacturing industries to renewable power sources, and
5. acceleration of renewable hydrogen – $225 million government investment.

Sheesh this is a bit rich! The federal government blows $90 billion on submarines and now consultancy groups are pleading for more billions. No mention of an investment by the states, nor from the super funds and banks where the real wealth lies.

A clean energy industry package?
I wanted to write about the Morrison Government’s new regional assistance package but no details have emerged as I write. By the time you’re reading this, Barnaby Joyce has presumably explained the gist of it.

Hopefully there is a clean energy industry package, not just a top-up to the Building Better Regions program. The rationale was recently explained by Andrew Charlton, former adviser to PM Rudd, when he instanced the messy brinkmanship between the Liberals and Nations on climate change policy prior to the Glasgow Summit.

Charlton argues that most of Australia’s 18 coal-fired power stations are expected to close over the next 15 years, with the loss of about 10,000 direct jobs. He then pointed to the futility of the cities lecturing the regions on climate, and suggested the approach should have been a comprehensive climate support package negotiated years ago, rather than at the last minute.

It’s easy to be right in hindsight, but Charlton IS right. The way forward has to be the feds working in partnership with the states and the private sector to finance clean energy projects and energy and manufacturing hubs. This is happening to some extent, and the recently-released document ‘A whole-of-economy Plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050’ provides a good overview of the various
initiatives underway.

Despite the doomsayers, things are on the move. But neither the coal-dependent regions nor the general public yet have enough tangible evidence nor the big picture. Mr. Morrison, you’re the marketing man.

Thank you Jan Morgan
The owner/editor of LG Focus, Jan Morgan, is selling up! Her sister Eryl established the business back in 1985, another sister Corinne held the reigns until she handed them to Jan ten years ago. Their combined efforts have done a wonderful job of keeping LGAs informed. Only once did they censor me – a grim and scathing piece about Senator Bronwyn Bishop. Fair enough in these litigious times.
My sincere wishes to you Jan in your retirement!

Rod Brown is a Canberra-based consultant and lobbyist specialising in industry/regional development, investment attraction and clusters, and accessing federal grants. He also runs the Cockatoo Network.
Phone: (02) 6231 7261 or 0412 922 559
Email: [email protected]