Trust underpins jobs boost on NSW’s mid-north coast

A regional community development fund on NSW’s mid-north coast has helped the Gloucester region create a total of 71 new fulltime equivalent jobs as well as underwriting new high school science education programs.

The $2 million Gloucester Independent Community Legacy Fund has generated a range of growth initiatives and has helped boost employment in the regional dairy industry.

The fund was established in the wake of unrealised plans by energy provider AGL Energy Ltd to establish coal seam gas production in the region in 2014.

The independently and locally administered fund was designed to foster sustainable economic development and training, education and employment opportunities.

This week, the panel administering the fund reported the creation of 71 fulltime equivalent jobs.

Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said the fund had provided a model for other dairy regions in building local economies and local education opportunities.  This model should be copied throughout the State with Government and industry support.

“Educational initiatives in the Gloucester region included a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program for the three High Schools,” he said.

“The model points to the synergies of the community working with the industry for on-the-ground outcomes regionally, such as dairy.”

Gloucester dairy producers GW & KW Forbes reported that their enterprise had grown by five new jobs.

Support from the fund had also allowed the Forbes family dairy farmers to increase their milking herd by 800 cows.

The 100-year-old, fourth generation Lone Pine Dairy farm had created two new FTE jobs. Support from the Fund will be for capital expansion projects.

The 360 student Gloucester High School has won support from the fund to create a STEM Pipeline Program and enhance links between local businesses and schools.

Hunter Special Vehicles has been operating in the Gloucester region for more than 23 years. Support from the fund will assist with expansion plans and staff training. 

Four new jobs had been created at the more than 100-year-old Avon Valley Inn. Support from the Fund will help with construction of a new function centre to be called the Avon Terrace.

Two new jobs had been created at the Fox Den Café on the main street of Gloucester. Support from the Fund will help expand and upgrade the café kitchen including installing pizza ovens. 

This program sets a template for further growth in rural townships, often suffering from a dwindling population and a lack of jobs to maintain employment.