HE may be new to town, but Paul Jones will soon be making himself known as the 'business friendly face' of Gunnedah Shire Council.
The newly appointed economic development manager will be hoping to hit the ground running, working with the Gunnedah community with the top goal of achieving a secure and sustainable economy for the future.
Mr Jones moved to Gunnedah from Young exactly one month ago with his wife, three young children and Labrador Henry.
It was a "surprisingly easy process" which saw him relocate in just over a week following the job offer, and the family have already grown to love Gunnedah.
"The people are extremely welcoming and friendly and it's great to see such a thriving business community," he said.
And, he sees great potential in the town's future, driven by strong industries such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing and the support services attached including retail.
These sectors will be crucial in his role acting as a 'business concierge' to provide one point of contact for business with matters concerning council.
"The economic development department act as a conduit between the community, local, state and federal government, enabling the latest support from all levels of the government to be communicated to the community in a clear and concise fashion," Mr Jones said.
"It is critical that the community and council have a shared vision for Gunnedah going forward in terms of what is required for economic development and I aim to facilitate this..."
Mr Jones was previously Manager Economic Development at Hilltops Council, in NSW's south west region which oversees major towns such as Young, Boorowa, Murrumburrah and Harden.
While the role is not new to him, he insists each region brings its own advantages and challenges.
"I look forward to meeting as many people as I can to understand what the community desire is in terms of securing future economic prosperity," he added.
Before entering local government, Mr Jones was an investment banker in Europe, Asia and Australia, a role he believes gives him a unique perspective as to the challenges business may face in the future and the need to provide jobs and gainful employment to all sectors of the community.
He believes Gunnedah is well positioned to benefit from growing economies and demand both from domestic and overseas markets.
"With strong transport connections, a diverse and skilled labour force and a vibrant small business sector, not to mention a welcoming community, Gunnedah has all the attributes to continue to be an important regional centre whilst maintaining its identity," he said.
"All sectors of the Gunnedah economy will play their part in delivering this sustainable growth for the future enabling Gunnedah Shire to be more resilient for the inevitable ups and downs of the economy.
"A secure and sustainable economy will attract more government funding, serve to retain existing businesses and attract new investment.
"This will generate more opportunities for employment, creating a multiplier effect of more people, more investment and more jobs."
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