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NEJO Economic Development Strategy

We were engaged by the New England Joint Organisation (NEJO) to prepare a regional Economic Development Strategy (EDS) as part of their commitment to the region. This EDS provides an evidence base of the local economy for the member Local Government Areas (LGAs) upon which
recommendations for the NEJO are based.

NEJO was established by the NSW Government in 2017 with the aim of driving better planning, economic development, andservice delivery for regional NSW . Members of NEJO are united in their commitment to work together for the improvement and enhancement of their respective communities. NEJO is formed by seven participating local government areas located on the highlands, slopes, and plains of northern New South Wales. NEJO member councils include:

  • Armidale Regional
  • Glen Innes Severn
  • Inverell Shire
  • Moree Plains
  • Narrabri Shire
  • Tenterfield Shire
  • Uralla Shire.

Although not a gazetted Member of the NEJO at the time of the report, Gwydir Shire Council are an Associate Member and valued contributor to the aims of the NEJO. The Gwydir Shire economy represents around 5 percent of the total NEJO economy. As such, we have included some data and commentary on the Gwydir Shire in this NEJO Strategic Plan.

The NEJO Region
The NEJO Region

NEJO is one of NSW’s prime agricultural regions, boasting abundant natural resources, vibrant
communities, and proximity between the key metropolitan precincts of Brisbane and Sydney. Agriculture, education, and the energy sector are key economic drivers for the region, with each LGA contributing various economic strengths and assets. As an example, Narrabri supports a high proportion of the region’s mining, while Inverell is a manufacturing powerhouse, and Armidale is the education centre for the region. Each LGA is backed by strong natural assets, a safe and secure water supply and accessible transport networks.

This EDS commences with an evidence-based report to support the economic development of the NEJO EDS providing socio-economic analysis on each member Council’s local area, relative to the NEJO region, and:

  1. Defines the current economic climate, taking into consideration the impact of drought, fires, and COVID-19; and
  2. Identifies current trends and opportunities for economic growth in the NEJO region.

The scope of this work provided a strong evidence base for individual and partnering Councils, along with the community, to support implementation of the updated economic development strategy. Key outcomes included:

  • To set the broader economic context in which trends and opportunities can be assessed.
  • To highlight strategies which improve the capacity and capability of businesses to be more resilient to future disaster in the wake of bushfires, drought and COVID-19, as well as adequate mitigation practices for risks and threats.
  • Identifying business growth inhibitors and opportunities.
  • To support the development of a prioritised action plan with clear, measurable outcomes

To achieve these items, this preliminary research:

  • Explores and discusses growing industries, emerging trends, and major drivers of the NEJO economy.
  • Identifies key regional assets, along with notable opportunities and challenges related to business risk and threat mitigation, and disaster resilience explored in the literature review.
  • Demonstrates the impact that drought, bushfire, and COVID had on the regional economy.

The NEJO Economic Development Strategy is currently under review due to the release of the 2021 Census data, and therefore this version is a draft.

View the NEJO Economic Development Strategy:
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