Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Where Diversity Brings Best Success; Region in Prime Spot for Growth

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Where Diversity Brings Best Success; Region in Prime Spot for Growth

Article excerpt

Byline: Tara Miko tara.miko@thechronicle.com.au

THE diversity of the Darling Downs region is driving its economic strength.

No single industry can take credit for the billions of dollars generated in our backyard, and it is that collaborative approach which has seen the region surge ahead of the rest of Queensland - to the tune of more than $9 billion.

"We are not dependent on any one industry for our survival," Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio said. "That is why the economic indicators are all looking healthy."

National unemployment is at 5.5 per cent, while the state sits at 5.9 per cent.

"Our unemployment is sitting under both the state and national average at 5.23 per cent," Cr Antonio said.

"Our Gross Regional Product is $9.8 billion - an increase of 3.6 per cent in the last 12 months."

Those were the opening remarks of Cr Antonio's annual State of the Region address which revealed the council's current priorities and ambitious future plans.

Ongoing plans such as the Russell St Refresh plan to regenerate the CBD road and its businesses, along with showcasing and using the Bell St Mall were among the centrepieces.

Strategic land purchases and the development of the Central Highfields Master Plan were the council safeguarding the growing area for the future.

"There will be an additional 7000 people living there by 2013 and the Central Highfields Master Plan we are working with the community to provide will give us a blueprint," he said.

Cr Antonio said the council had moved early to chart the growth of Toowoomba's western areas.

Those areas had the potential to become "high growth areas".

"West Toowoomba is anticipated to be the home of approximately 30,000 by 2050, and will be the second largest employment area in the region," he said, adding those predictions drove the need for greater infrastructure investment and major transport connections. …

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