The Southern Downs is ready to realise its vision for the future after the council unanimously adopted its new strategic plan, Shaping Southern Downs. At its general meeting last week, councillors applauded the new strategy, a plan which envisions a bigger and better Southern Downs.

“Shaping Southern Downs has been in the works for two years and is the result of extensive community consultation, hard work and collaboration and sharing of ideas,” Southern Downs Mayor, Tracy Dobie said. “We now have a clear vision for the region; strategies and actions to achieve that vision and most importantly to grow the population of the Southern Downs. This is a fantastic outcome for the Southern Downs and the community and will create a bigger and better and more prosperous region moving forward.”

Shaping Southern Downs will encourage investment in the region and aims to grow the population to 50,000. The region’s growth will support a wider range of businesses, industries and services in the area and provide a range of jobs for locals and support infrastructure improvements. The newly adopted plan will inform the review of the Southern Downs Planning Scheme currently under way, as well as form the foundation for the corporate plan. The council will also use the strategy to support applications for State and Federal Government funding.

Deputy Mayor Jo McNally said the new plan will guide the council and move the region into the future. “It has taken two years but good things come to those who wait,” Cr McNally said. “This is a fantastic initiative which outlines a shared vision for the region’s future and will guide everything we do as an organisation. It’s a plan which will ensure growth and success for the Southern Downs. “I would like to thank all of the members of the community who took part in Shaping Southern Downs.”

The final Shaping Southern Downs document builds on four key themes: Growth, Connectivity, Prosperity and Sustainability and was developed following extensive community engagement which was facilitated by independent consultant, Ethos Urban. More than 250 surveys were completed as part of the review and consultation process, with community workshops being held with more than 100 people from across the region in Warwick, Stanthorpe, Killarney and Allora.

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