Council today endorsed its Rural Enterprises Industry Sector Action Plan, ensuring future growth opportunities in Redlands Coast’s rural industry sector.
Mayor Karen Williams said with Redlands Coast retaining major areas of regionally designated and locally zoned rural land, the action plan supported many of the city’s naturally wonderful values and attractions.
“The potential to grow this local industry sector at a time that coincides with important emerging trends in rural industry is enormous,” she said.
“Redlands Coast is ideally placed to seize newly emerging agricultural food production trends, like vertical garden horticulture, and low-impact, high-value production, such as fly farming.
“From glamping in wineries to bed and breakfast farm stays, these opportunities extend to new, high value rural products and support for growth in agritourism here.
“We already have diverse, local industry activity on Redlands Coast, such as food production and bespoke bio products to large scale food processing and manufacturing, and agricultural research.
“From this rural industry base we are well positioned to grow new employment and rural enterprise investments on the doorstep of major markets and we will be working to promote these opportunities.”
Cr Williams said our rural enterprises were one of the city’s eight key industries, contributing $80 million, or one per cent, of the city’s economic output per year.
“Redlands Coast has an exciting opportunity to respond to consumer demand for organic and sustainable food production, reduced food miles and carbon footprints and reduced natural resource demand,” she said.
“The plan acknowledges the need for land use certainty, water and energy costs and market accessibility issues, and also identifies the opportunity for new and sustainable industry growth supported by local research and development investment.
“Significantly, Redlands Coast is already home to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ crop research facility, which undertakes research into areas such as high value, cut flower horticulture and turf farming as well as improved crop yields through application of robotic and drone technology.
“The industry sector plan endorsed today rightly acknowledges the potential value of this local research asset for attracting and leveraging new, collaborative industry research and investment with particular opportunity for high value growth in emerging sectors like biotechnology and bio products, including biofuels.
“The key to success is working collaboratively across the sector to attract new investment and opportunities and I am convinced Redlands Coast is well suited to do this and to take advantage of new technology, scale and production trends to attract and build new local industry investments.”