New strategic plan passed

Northern Areas Council Mayor Denis Clark.

Northern Areas Council Mayor Denis Clark.

After many months of working through the process and following several stages of public consultation, the Northern Areas Council has formally adopted its new strategic plan for 2020-2027.

Mayor Denis Clark said it had been a lengthy process but was worthwhile.

"The strategic plan is the most important document for any council because it acts as a roadmap, setting direction for a long term period," he said.

"This is enormously important for us when we set our long term financial plan, our annual business plan and budget and so many other key items for council."

Public consultation initially commenced with a community survey, where local community members were able to help guide council in its direction, including suggestions for the future. From there a series of workshops were held with councillors, to provide a draft of the strategy which was then available for public comment.

Following multiple community forums, the strategy was formally adopted at council's September meeting. Mr Clark thanked the community for their input throughout the process.

"It has taken some time, but we've had some very good feedback, with some great idea and some good direction from the initial surveys, through to some well attended community forums," he said. "It's certainly helped us develop the plan and we look forward to working together with the community over the life of the plan to help achieve its goals."

Key areas of the plan include a thriving local economy, ensuring that Northern Areas is a desirable place to live or visit, stronger communities across the council region, effective infrastructure and community assets and the continued focus on sustained financial stability.

From within the key goals, there is a renewed focus on local business, with council setting a strategy to encourage investment in local business and industry, while also continuing to look to support local business to drive employment opportunities. Continued direction remains on ensuring assets such as the sealed and unsealed road network are well maintained, in addition to parks, gardens and community buildings.

Mayor Clark said another area council also looked to focus on was continued support for the many community organisations within the council area.

"We're very lucky to have a volunteering rate double the national average and one of the highest in Australia," he said. "These people do an incredible amount for their local communities, Council is looking to make sure that we can continue to offer support to them in to the future."

The strategic plan is available on council's website or at the Jamestown, Gladstone and Spalding council offices.