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NR Think Tank

Our Director of Regional Development Tim Williamson with RDA Northern Rivers Committee Member Jenny Dowell and NSW Business Chamber’s Jane Lavery at the Future Northern Rivers Think Tank

Northern Rivers regional leaders and youth came together at the Future Northern Rivers Think Tank to develop their outrageously ambitious ideas for the future of the Northern Rivers. This Think Tank action-fest followed demographer Bernard Salt’s challenge for the Northern Rivers region to be ‘outrageously ambitious’ when planning for our future. Mr Salt was addressing a sold-out crowd at the Future Northern Rivers luncheon, which was supported by RDA Northern Rivers, Northern Rivers Joint Organisation (NRJO), Southern Cross University (SCU) and the NSW Business Chamber (NSWBC) among others.

The demographer’s predictions at the June lunch started a conversation about what our region would look like in 30 to 50 years. Mr Salt’s research into our region uncovered a world of potential, like harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit of the region, driving the knowledge sector and creating jobs. However, his vision and challenge will achieve nothing if we don’t take up the torch and take ideas into action.

RDA Northern Rivers, in collaboration with Future Northern Rivers partners, NRJO, NSWBC and SCU, stepped up to this challenge, bringing together community leaders, including youth, young Indigenous leaders, business, government and community representatives from across all local government areas, at a Think Tank at the Southern Cross Enterprise Lab on Tuesday 6 August 2019.

The focus of the day was to workshop our outrageously ambitious ideas for a healthy and prosperous Northern Rivers into goals and actions. Three themes – social, environment and economic – were taken up across six tables of community leaders and innovators.

Led by facilitator and leading strategist Steve Tighe, the task was embraced with enthusiasm to create the following outrageously ambitious ideas.

By 2040 the Northern Rivers;

  • is globally recognised for its regenerative culture and deep adaptation.
  • Is a 100% regenerative regional prototype.
  • has 20,000 extra social housing and affordable housing units.
  • has established, accessible, holistic, social and educational pathways so that everyone in the Northern Rivers can contribute, participate and thrive.
  • Has established “Water Security NR” to lead an integrated strategy for securing water across the Northern Rivers
  • is a global technology region actively fostering innovation in all Northern Rivers’ industries.

This Think Tank marks the start of the journey to turn our ‘outrageously ambitious’ ideas into real projects and outcomes for the region.

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