Blue Mountains City Council has placed economic development high on the agenda by hosting its inaugural business forum at the Fairmont Resort on August 22, when more than 100 guests got to meet the board of directors of the Blue Mountains Economic Entity (BMEE).
The BMEE is a new council initiative that will meet regularly and be approachable by the local business sector, with the sole focus of generating ideas and initiatives for economic growth and jobs creation across the Blue Mountains.
Mayor Daniel Myles and council’s general manager Robert Greenwood spoke at the business forum, answered questions from the floor and pledged their support for the BMEE and its board members.
"I congratulate Dave Garner, Michael Brischetto, Geoffrey Weule, Paul Wakefield, Sarah Mills and Don Luscombe on their appointment as non-permanent board members - they are highly skilled, with experience from a diverse range of professional sectors including business, tourism, retail, the arts, finance and marketing," Clr Myles said.
"We need a holistic approach to expand local economic opportunities beyond the tourism sector, there are many ways to do that and I wish you, the board members, every success."
Mr Greenwood said according to a 2011 survey there are 5,607 businesses in the Blue Mountains, most of them small businesses, generating $1.9 billion into the local economy and providing thousands of jobs.
"It is a very exciting time to be in the Blue Mountains," Mr Greenwood said.
He told the Gazette the next step for the BMEE is to finalise its registration and appoint its first chairman and then it can begin consulting with local businesses and developing economic development priorities and strategies.
The community is looking forward to a better performance by council on the economic development front, according to the findings of council’s 2012 community survey of 1030 residents.
The survey report revealed overall there was a low level of satisfaction amongst Blue Mountains residents with the council’s efforts in generating local employment opportunities resulting in a mean score of 2.91 out of 5.