Mayor Cr O'Rourke: New Zealand visit a success
Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke has deemed a recent City of Greater Bendigo visit to Dunedin, New Zealand a success.
Cr O’Rourke, Cr Matt Emond, Chief Executive Officer Craig Niemann and Manager Regional Sustainable Development Trevor Budge travelled to Dunedin on New Zealand’s south island from Thursday February 8 to Sunday February 11.
Cr O’Rourke said Dunedin had many great examples of working to manage future growth, increase employment opportunities and enhance liveability.
“The City of Dunedin has taken a coordinated and measured approach to growing its economy by identifying key areas to develop and pursuing these until they’re complete,” she said.
“About five years ago the Council recognised a business as usual approach was not going to transform Dunedin into a progressive, growing city. So it collaborated with leading local organisations to develop key targets that focused on increasing the number of people living and working in central Dunedin and enhancing the manufacture of local products.
“Together, the Council and the organisations set about reaching out to the world and developed an economic development strategy and appointed representatives to Enterprise Dunedin, a group tasked with promoting business growth.
“The City of Dunedin has also invested heavily in its creative industries and went about advocating for the infrastructure necessary to attract everything from architectural to digital gaming firms to set up locally. For example, the 'ball tracking' we see on tennis, golf and cricket television coverage was developed in Dunedin.
“There was a big push for fast internet access and 13 Wi-Fi hot spots will soon be rolled out in the city centre with speeds up to 10 times faster than what we can access in Australia.
“Like Bendigo, Dunedin has a strong tourism industry and has placed a big emphasis on branding its city. It has gold rush origins too and many Chinese miners went in search of riches there, so as a result Dunedin has been able to leverage this history and build strong sister city relations with Shanghai.
“The Council and the local university have also worked hard to make the city appealing for those wanting to study, growing the student population to 25,000.
“The City of Dunedin’s approach to economic development is ‘we think, we plan, we do, we review’, and it works hard to involve the local community at each stage.
“I believe the visit confirmed that here in Bendigo we’re doing good work but there is an opportunity to apply the advice we received from Dunedin to enhance how we go about improving the future of Greater Bendigo and the wider region.”