Work by the Regional Australia Institute confirms city population size does not determine economic performance.

There is no significant statistical difference between the economic performance of Australia’s big five metro cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide) and its 31 regional cities in historical output, productivity and participation rates.

(See the recent June 2017 study by Regional Australia Institute – Lighting up our Great Small Cities: Challenging Misconceptions).

In her commentary on the finding Leonie Pearson, Adjunct Associate of the Institute notes that “investing in regional cities’ economic performance makes good sense.”

Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce supports these findings of the Institute and respectfully endorse Ms Pearson’s comments, which we say apply right here in Coffs Harbour, fast becoming known as a centre for regional excellence.

After all, when the JRPP gave it’s unanimous and resounding approval of Gowings’ proposed hotel development in the City Centre last week, panel chairman Gary West commented that Coffs Harbour has become one of the “go to” destinations in Australia.

Garth Grundy of Gowings who spoke in support of the new hotel development said that not only is Coffs Harbour a top 10 Australian tourist destination, his experience is that Coffs Harbour and its people excel whenever they are afforded the opportunity.

We at the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce endorse Regional Australia Institute’s study; it shows Coffs Harbour is as well positioned to create investment returns as it’s big five metropolitan cousins, because the same rules apply, namely investment will produce returns if it builds on existing city strengths and capabilities.

Make no mistake, the challenges remain.

First, there is much work to shift the traditional notion that the smart money invests only in our big metro cities.

The Regional Australia Institute has now shown this is wrong.

Regional cities and clearly Coffs Harbour are just as well positioned to create investment returns as the big five.

Second, Coffs Harbour must be investment-ready.

We must work together to create priorities that attract interest and investment, supported by existing economic strengths and capabilities.

We have now got the ball rolling, but to succeed we must continue to demonstrate our capacity to deliver.

A shared vision and local leaders who get along well enough to back a shared set of priorities will win the day.