Creative Industries on the Agenda as local leaders meet to drive cultural currency

By Gary J2 Co-Owner / Creative Industries & Youth Advocate

Leaders in local industries meet to discuss a new initiative to promote a cross-collaboration effort between Noosa Council and local Economic Business Groups for a "Future Junction". The agenda was to propose a new program that will strengthen local economy and business sustainability by leveraging Creative Industries as a cultural currency.

Junction 2 hosted the discussion inside the Threads Project co-retail store with a formidable group of industries leaders including key representative from Noosa Tourism
, Noosa Junction Traders Association, Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance, Noosa Chamber of Commerce, Noosa Biosphere
 and Sunshine Coast University. This was matched by a solid team from Noosa Council including Sandy Bolton, Frank Wilkie, Carolyn Bullen and Rowena Skinner

Led by local creative Brian Keayes and large scale events manager Bryn Skilbeck the discussion was to address the development and use of Noosa Junction as an impact hub and creative node.

The development of creative and related industries within the Noosa region will provide employment, cultural and creative opportunities for the community including Networking, training, incubation and mentoring opportunities, Additional economic and employment streams for region, Youth engagement and creation of a destination brand for Noosa around creative community.

There was consensus that common goals existed for  establishing a vibrant Creative Industry program for Noosa, with the opportunity for Noosa Junction to act as a key Hub for this community.

Broad agreement was voiced that a vibrant creative industry was vital for the future economic, employment, cultural, tourism and community development of the Noosa region and address many of the key performance indicated raised by the Noosa Economic Plan.

Noosa Junction as a location has potential in many areas to act as the hub of this industry, but needs assistance in creating the physical spaces, venues and programs to make this happen.

Defining ‘creative industry’ as a term was imperative to ensure that everyone was working off the same page and that the strategy is inclusive of a broad range of groups and industries that may consider themselves part of this community.

Existing work being undertaken by Noosa Council in the Economic Development area, and the employment / training reference group that is highly relevant to the creative industry discussion

A wide range of other programs and opportunities have also being created by organisations such as Noosa Biosphere, Junction 2 Coworking, Noosa Boardroom, Noosa Creative Precinct, Noosa Chamber of Commerce, Noosa Junction Association and Tourism Noosa.

Currently, communication and coordination of these programs and opportunities are less than ideal and is one of the major barriers to implementing a successful change strategy. A high level strategy would ensure that greater coordination and targeting of existing resources and programs between all represented organisations. With a clear common goal, greater opportunities exist to work together to create tangible outcomes.

A major concern is that Noosa has attempted to develop these programs before, with some community scepticism around what benefits were actually achieved. The strategy, and its future implementation, will require financial and human resources to be developed and actioned. To be successful, it must be a robust and detailed process with strong collaboration between a range of stakeholders.

In the longer term, any sucessful strategy must point the way to financial self-sustainability for the program which cannot rely soley on community or council funding beyond the start up phase.