Over four days in early May, three members of Bingara and District Vision 20/20, President Frances Young, Secretary Rick Hutton and Committee member Erik Ozols attended the NSW Community Edonomic Development Conference in Broken Hill.
Also attending was Gwydir Shire Council’s Organisation Development Director, Leeah Daley.
The four represented Bingara and the Gwydir Shire at the Conference, which is held every two years to showcase community achievements and enable the attendees to learn from the experiences of each other.
Broken Hill was, in itself, a wonderful showcase of community resilience and lateral thinking. Born on the back of mineral deposits and forged in the spirit of the outback, the miner, and the mix of capital investment and union solidarity, “the Hill” has taken new directions in art and culture and has cushioned the prospects of vagaries in the mineral sector by investing in tourist related projects.
The Bingara contingent were very impressed by the “sparkle” of the city and felt that the prospects of it being the first town in Australia to be included on the National Heritage List to be well deserved.
The various speakers and presenters gave insight into the factors that will impact on the sustainability of rural and regional communities into the future.
Media commentator Michael Pascoe was an excellent commentator. He spoke of the two stage economy Australia faces in the next few years. Those communities sitting on sought after mineral resources will out-perform those with an agricultural base, but he forecast growth in both sectors, and with a healthy overall Australian economy.
Festivals and cultural events, especially those with a unique character, were identified as good growth stimulators for communities as well as providing good reasons for towns to celebrate their achievements.
The Bingara contingent were pleased to present some of the achievements of our town and Shire and, along with Uki, Chillingworth, Comboyne and Lockhart, were invited to make special presentations.
The representatives look forward to providing more ideas from the Conference during the course of the Community Economic Development process that Bingara has been invited to participate in over the next few months.
There will be opportunities provided for individuals and community groups to have input into this project during June and July, which encourages thinking and planning for more resilient communities.