Region may become 'Green Coast'
THE Northern Rivers could be rebranded the ‘Green Coast’ as a foil to the Gold Coast as the region works to capitalise on its environment and reputation to slash unemployment and build wealth under a list of ‘10 big ideas’ for the region released by the NSW Business Chamber yesterday.
The chamber launched the ideas at a business lunch at Ballina’s Ramada Hotel as part of a state-wide program it says is aimed at making NSW the best place in Australia to run a business.
Chamber policy and advocacy manager Joanne Yates and regional manager John Murray said the key point in the local plan was a call to create a Northern Rivers regional economic zone, which would put local businesses on an equal footing with their Queensland competitors.
“Don Page (the NSW Member for Ballina) gave the example of one local business that pays more that $70,000 a year in workers comp, but if they could put their business on the back of a truck and move it to South East Queensland it would cost them only $27,000 or $28,000 a year,” Mr Murray said.
“And that’s only one example of how much cheaper it is to do business in Queensland than in NSW.”
Ms Yates dismissed suggestions that creating the zone would create the same border problems further south as ‘defeatist’, saying the economic zone idea could be extended into a national tax reform agenda that equalised business taxes across the nation.
“Wouldn’t it be nice for the Northern Rivers to influence reforms on COAG (the Council of Australian Governments),” she said.
Ms Yates said the point of the 10 big ideas, which had been in development across the state for 18 months and which followed a similar list of ideas for the entire state, was to look for solutions to problems.
Mr Murray was also enthusiastic about using a single brand to represent the region, and was open to changing that brand.
“Whether ‘Northern Rivers’ is the right brand or not ... we could try something like the Green Coast as a bit of ambush marketing to the Gold Coast,” he said. “You land at Coolangatta and turn left to go to the Gold Coast or right and get the Green Coast.”