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Gympie plots its future in a digital world

A DIGITAL-BASED future is being kept warm under Gympie's incubator, just waiting for its opportunity to hatch.

The current diversify-or-die attitude the council has adopted fits perfectly with new Regional Australia Institute research into building strong futures for towns like Gympie.

Robust leadership, positive community perceptions and - most importantly - entrepreneurship were found to be indispensable assets to regional areas.

The RAI compared two towns similar in size and assets to Gympie - Goulbourn and Orange - and investigated why only one of them was thriving.

The findings can be translated to regional towns all over the country.

"It's about saying why are they so different - why is Orange seen to be the place to go and Goulbourn not," RAI chief Su McCluskey said.

"In actual fact Goulbourn is successful but perception plays a part. That leadership is so important and that level of confidence."

Acting Mayor Tony Perrett said the sentiments were hard to argue against and pointed to the arrival of the National Broadband Network as opening new opportunities for the city.

"Diversifying the economy is the key. Our traditional industries will always be there, but we can't be reliant on them," Cr Perrett said.

"The rollout of the NBN and Gympie being targeted as one of its priority areas gives us an opportunity to open all kinds of digital and creative knowledge-based industries.

"We can't afford to close our minds."

Gympie Chamber of Commerce vice-president Garry Davison said the business community was supremely confident about the future, despite the city having one of Australia's highest unemployment rates.

"People can see what's in the pipeline," he said.

"Bunnings opened one of south-east Queensland's biggest warehouses and retail outlets in Gympie last week. There is a big development happening with Toyota's new workshop.

"Then there's the massive injection of funds and jobs into the Bruce Hwy.

"These are all good signs for breeding local confidence."

Topics:  business gympie technology

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