Moreton Bay Regional Council Chief Economic Development Officer Paul Martins has steered his team through a massive year in 2022, continuing the rollout of the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS), helping launch a virtual work experience program and also the Moreton Money gift card scheme.
A report card for the REDS released late last month shows the focus on economic development is paying off, with a 3.3 percent annual increase in jobs (13,143), compared with Brisbane, which reported a 1.9 percent increase.
The REDS provides the blueprint for Council, industry and the business community to collaboratively build a $40 billion economy by attracting and generating 16,000 new businesses and 100,000 new jobs by 2041.
Last week’s report card shows progress against all 28 actions contained in the 2020-22 action plan, with a new action plan to be implemented next year.
Under Mr Martin’s stewardship, six new investments in the region have been secured, generating an estimated $770.7 million in capital expenditure and 930 new jobs.
In the pipeline are 209 investment leads with the potential to create 6731 jobs and $2.47 billion in capital expenditure, according to the report card.
When he was appointed to his role, Mr Martins said: “While COVID-19 has created a number of challenges for our business and wider community, it has also created some supply chain opportunities for our industries to bring manufacturing and jobs back to Australia and specifically Moreton Bay.
“These opportunities together with our region-building projects chart a bold future for our region.”
Helping launch the My Future In Moreton Bay program – a virtual work experience program in October, Mr Martins said the program was aimed at all jobseekers, not just students.
“We’re hoping that might help bridge that gap between virtual and real-world experience,” he says.
“We’re hoping that if they show up and they knock on the door and say ‘can I now have some work experience - I’ve done an operations module?’ (employers) will go ‘you’ve invested time, yes I will give you a go’.”
In a further bid to boost the local economy, Mr Martins says the Moreton Money local spending program, which will run for three years, aims to help businesses struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 Omicron outbreak and the February floods.
He says it will be similar to gift cards that could only be used at outlets within Westfield shopping centres and give the local chambers of commerce running the scheme the opportunity to boost membership, with shops at which the gift cards could be used having to be a member.
In another initiative designed to put the Moreton Bay Region on the map, Council inked an agreement with the My Way TV show to produce two episodes focused on the area in the 2022-23 financial year.
Mr Martins says the arrangement is a “fantastic opportunity to promote and showcase our beautiful region to our target audience”.
“This My Way TV show takes place during the September-March period, so it’s a filler when the NRL season goes into remission and it’s usually telecast on a Sunday afternoon to a predominantly east coast audience, but certainly a national audience,” Mr Martins says.
“The opportunity is that each show has four stories, five to seven minutes in length and as a result the Moreton Bay region would have eight stories, plus general theming over two episodes.”
About Paul Martins
Paul Martins joined Moreton Bay Regional Council in August, 2020, becoming Australia’s first Chief Economic Development Officer, after working at Sunshine Coast Council as Head of Economic Development.
There, he pioneered the Sunshine Coast’s first regional economic development strategy.
Mr Martins is a former diplomat, having served as Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner and Minister (Counsellor) Commercial to Malaysia and Brunei with the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade).
He was also Head of their ASEAN Infrastructure and ASEAN Mining and Oil and Gas Units and completed Trade Commissioner postings with Austrade to Indonesia and Mexico.
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