Primary producers in Hay, Carrathool help shape NSW region’s economic future  

More than 80 primary producers and community members joined both Hay and Carrathool shire councils and The Next Economy (TNE) at a series of workshops to explore barriers and opportunities for strengthening community resilience and driving good economic development in the region.  

Situated within Australia’s renowned ‘food bowl’ in the Riverina region of southwest New South Wales, the Hay and Carrathool Shire communities boast a rich legacy in agriculture and primary production. 

The five workshops, held between 8 and 12 April 2024, brought together representatives from local businesses, community organisations, community services and primary production to identify what makes the region work now as well as opportunities and potential directions for good regional development that drives a strong, vibrant and climate resilient future. 

Feedback from workshop participants included: “It was great to see so many community members turn up and be involved” and “It was good to feel like community members are important in decision making”. 

The workshops marked the official start of extensive community engagement activities as part of Hay and Carrathool Shire Councils’ development of the 10-year Resilient Economy Roadmap initiative.  

The Roadmap will outline practical actions councils, business, industries and communities can take over the next decade to diversify their economies while building resilience in the face of change and disruption. This includes economic, social, cultural and environmental resilience. 

The project comes at a pivotal moment for the region as communities navigate a range of growing challenges and disruptions, including rising living costs, climate impacts from recent flood events to prolonged droughts, and the impact of the decarbonisation of global supply chains. 

Jacqui Bell, TNE’s Land Use Director, said:  

“These communities have a golden opportunity to stay strong now and into the future. To do that, they’re coming together to identify how to overcome barriers, diversify economies and build resilience. 

“The level of engagement with the Roadmap project demonstrates the region has a network of strategic local leaders and champions who are passionate about their communities, economy and the future of the region.   

“Community members, business owners and representatives from the primary production industry we’ve engaged with so far are constantly adapting and innovating in response to changes in the local climate and global economy.  It was great to see such overwhelming interest in working collaboratively to shape the region’s future.”  

The Resilient Economy Roadmap initiative is a collaboration between Hay and Carrathool Shire councils, The Next Economy, The Australian Resilience Centre, and communities across the region.  Running from March to October 2024, it is funded jointly by the Australian Government and NSW’s Future Drought Fund and is part of the Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program. 

To stay up to date on the project, follow the Resilient Economy Roadmap Facebook page.  For further project information, please contact 

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