Southern Downs looking east for progress

REACHING out to neighbouring councils is the next step for progressing jobs and business opportunities for the Southern Downs.

At the weekend, an article in the Australian Financial Review named the region, particularly around Stanthorpe, among the top 10 destinations to call home nationwide.

Mayor Tracy Dobie said she wanted to capitalise on the positive review and welcome more residents from regions further east who were looking for a change of pace.

Cr Dobie said it was increasingly important the Southern Downs was building and maintaining relationships with surrounding councils.

"We've already been to visit mayors and CEOs of the councils directly around us and have established Memorandum of Understanding with Tenterfield Shire and Scenic Rim Regional Councils," she said.

"Having those relationships is very important for us, and we are also keen to establish those relationships with councils closer to the cities.

"We as a region must look east.

"From a residency, business and tourism perspective, getting our region known in the South East corner of Queensland is the first step in moving beyond our own council.

"We want to be able to invite people here for sports, business and tourism, or as residents."

Cr Dobie said she would soon meet with Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale to discuss the potential for the two councils.

She said as Ipswich became more metropolitan, many businesses could capitalise on the rural environment offered by the Southern Downs.

"People once upon a time were looking at living a maximum of 60 minutes from their place of work," she said.

"That has now changed to 90 minutes, so there is no reason people couldn't live here and enjoy the lifestyle we have to offer, and work in Ipswich.

"Land here is also far cheaper here than in places closer to Brisbane, so for any business that requires a large amount of land, the Southern Downs is an ideal place to do that.

"Even if it's just one business each year coming from Ipswich to the Downs, that would be great for us."

Southern Downs Regional Council is also working on projects to attract more investment and more jobs.

Cr Dobie recently met with the Department of State Development deputy director general Kathy Schaefer to cement the working relationship between the council and the department, in efforts to deliver the investment and employment outcomes for residents.

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