South-East forum looks at economic diversity



A high-level forum in Mt Gambier has discussed a strategic approach to diversify the region's economy and add value to the abundant natural resources of the Limestone Coast.

Advanced Manufacturing Council chair Göran Roos addressed the Limestone Coast Economic Diversification Forum, held in the Institute Building in Mt Gambier.

Premier Jay Weatherill said the challenges for the region went way beyond the forestry forward sale.

"In March this year I went to Mt Gambier and had further discussions with local government, where we agreed to initiate an economic forum.

"The Limestone Coast is already a strong economic contributor to the State but we need new ideas and more community involvement to explore opportunities for economic development in this richly diverse region," Premier Weatherill said.

"The Limestone Coast is characterised by its strong agricultural, viticultural and forestry industries. We want to strengthen these and explore other sectors and opportunities.

"The idea of the forum is to bring together innovative thinkers with strong connections in industry sectors that will be important to the Limestone Coast's future.

"The outcomes from the forum will help inform the work we are doing on the State Government's Premium Food and Wine from our Clean Environment taskforce and our Growing Advanced Manufacturing taskforce."

The forum is the first step in a process that allows others to contribute ideas for the region's future, through community workshops and local councils.

Dennis Mutton, Chair of the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations convened the forum and participants included Mount Gambier Mayor Steve Perryman, Tatiara Mayor and Chair of South East Local Government Association Richard Vickery, as well as representatives from a range of industry sectors.