Council Supports The Local Economy Through Business Support

The team promotes Coffs with Channel 9 Today show Weatherman (March 2020).


MANY people think of local councils only in terms of rates, roads and rubbish.

However, their services are far more complex, and a significant aspect is to support the local economy.

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Coffs Harbour City Council’s Industry and Destination Development Section, a team of eight professionals, supports the implementation of the Economic Development Strategy.

The section’s role is to facilitate job growth and attract people to visit, study, work and live on the Coffs Coast.

The strategy looks at the local economy from a variety of perspectives to ensure that there are opportunities, skills, technology and infrastructure to help Coffs Coast people thrive and prosper, with a focus on three key industries: the visitor economy (; the digital economy (, the ‘one-stop shop’ to connect business with resources, connections and support; and the ‘agrifood’ economy (, connecting growers and users and everyone in between.

To support Council’s Economic Development Strategy, the team works with many local stakeholders to understand the needs of local business to facilitate opportunities for education, skill development and advocacy across levels of government.

The team identifies needs related to infrastructure, industry development, young people and education.

They have been involved with local stakeholders such as the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce with the ‘Go Local First’ campaign, encouraging people to support local businesses.

Another example was initiating the ‘Shop the Orara Valley’ campaign to support businesses of the Orara Valley during recovery from bushfire.

The campaign assisted 400 locals to travel and patronise local Orara Valley businesses over one weekend, through grant funding.

A third initiative is the 6 degrees ‘Festival of New Thinking’ which has been helping business owners think differently about their businesses.

Future programs include ‘Our Place Is Great’ which encourages locals to hashtag their favourite places (during exercise currently) and is the first stage of a lockdown recovery tourism campaign.

The team is also in the final stages of obtaining accreditation as an ‘eco destination’ for the Coffs Coast.

This accreditation will see Coffs be recognised as the first destination in NSW to be recognised this way.

Ms Barden, Section Leader, Industry and Destination Development, said her team has a range of skills and combined with research, examples from around the nation and the world, spend time developing localised ways to support the destination and its businesses.

She said, “We help facilitate communication with specific audiences across many industries, including the focus industries, to support and develop our local economy.”


By Andrew VIVIAN

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