FOUR key moves are setting the scene for the development of an economic strategy to help recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and stimulate the economy.

Developing new revenue streams, destination marketing, attracting investment and building the capacity of local businesses all feature in Douglas Shire Council’s vision for the region.

Council today resolved to continue its support of Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) with a $250,000 injection to focus on domestic marketing activities for the next 12 months.

A further $50,000 was approved for the Douglas Chamber of Commerce that will provide more support for small businesses in the Shire and further programs post COVID-19.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said a broad approach to economic development would bring confidence back to the region.

“COVID-19 has created the perfect storm for Douglas Shire with more than 1500 jobs expected to be lost, about $150 million sucked out of our economy and international borders shut for the foreseeable future,” he said.

“We are looking at broadening our economic development focus to encourage more people to not only buy in Douglas, but to build in Douglas.

“This will ensure greater confidence in investment, leading to job creation and security, commercial success and residential growth.”

Under the operating budget, more than $860,000 will be spent on tourism, economic development and events over the next 12 months.

Council will continue to work with Mossman Mill owners, Far Northern Milling Pty Ltd, to help facilitate and establish a bio precinct to add value for local sugarcane growers.

Council has recruited a Tourism and Economic Development Officer to work with TPDD, the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Recovery Group and the Economic Strategic Review Committee to deliver a clear strategy of growing the Shire’s economy and driving key Shire projects to support existing residents.

The new position will also allow Council to build stronger ties with Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) during this important economic recovery phase.

The Buy Douglas: Build Douglas campaign will continue to support local businesses by asking people to #DoItInDouglas in coming months.

Mayor Kerr said COVID-19 had revealed vulnerabilities and opportunities in the local economy and emphasised the need to change our approach.

“Council needs to pivot towards a local economy that is attractive to developers and investors in its own unique way and invest in ways that supports new residents to the Shire” he said.

“A stronger, broader-based and resilient local economy will also give us the ability to continue to protect areas of our shire – the Daintree, our wonderful beaches, the reef, amongst others – that are crucial “natural” drivers of our tourism sector.”

 Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) CEO Tara Bennett acknowledged the continued funding support from Council.

“I look forward to continue working closely with Douglas Shire Council and the Economic Recovery Group as we rebuild our economy and bring travellers back to this region,” she said.