OUR SAY: Let’s aim for more economic growth
GET around the Clarence Valley and you sense the positive feeling.
There are still plenty of ups and downs, but generally businesses and consumers seem to have more confidence.
That feeling is backed up by the figures from Clarence Valley Council showing exceptionally strong growth in the past financial year.
A growth rate of 13.1% in the gross regional economy is impressive in itself, and it is even better when compared with neighbouring councils.
The council that is closest, Lismore, is more than 20 percentage points behind.
It's great to be able to enjoy a win over your close rivals, but in the end it is not about beating Lismore and Byron Bay and others; the task is creating the best community that the Clarence Valley can be.
The coming construction boom promises to create continued strong economic growth over the next 4-5 years, and the building blocks for that growth are in place.
But we have to keep in mind the need to plan beyond 2020 when the highway is complete, the bridge is built and the new jail is open.
The big new prison will be one of the key drivers of continued growth as it provides 200 or more direct jobs, however, there is still the need and the time to develop other industries.
We won't get 13.1% growth every year, but we should always be trying to match that figure.