THE COUNTRY music capital is set for a shake-up as the council plans to leave behind the status quo and set its sights on major growth.
Two key strategies are planned to take the city there; one with a focus on new investment opportunities and the other to build the Tamworth brand, grow tourism, business visitation and new events.
With the bar set high at a population of 100,000 in the next two decades, Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) will need to pull out all the stops to cement the city's place in the state as a vibrant regional hub.
And, it all starts with the community, TRC growth and prosperity director Jacqueline O'Neill said.
"What we would like to achieve is to engage across our regional towns and the city to confirm what the community would like to see in the future of Tamworth - what kind of investment we would like here in Tamworth," she said.
"Some of the things we do exceptionally well are the country music festival, which is known not just here in NSW but across Australia and overseas as well; we know how to do events, entertainment, arts and culture."
It's not about leaving Tamworth's moniker as the country music capital in the dust, but about expanding on the under-utilised or less-explored tourism opportunities.
That could mean better marketing the city's major facilities, like the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre or the Australian Equine Livestock and Events Centre; one of the best in the southern hemisphere.
Capitalising on the city's landscapes, culture and history will likely also fold into the plan.
While Tamworth Tomorrow, the city's economic development and investment strategy, expires at the end of this year.
The 2016 plan argued Tamworth was ideally situated on the main inland route between Victoria and Queensland for freight logistics and is an agricultural hub for Australia, a service centre for mining developments, an emerging manufacturing magnate and abuzz with small businesses.
Back then the city had a population growth rate of 1.47 per cent, better than some major regional centres like Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo and Maitland.
Since then Ms O'Neill said the city's GDP has grown by about 3.9 per cent, or about $3.65 billion.
"We are seeing that growth moving towards that population of 100,000 we wanted to see as part of Blueprint 100," she said.
Blueprint 100 is a guide to the future use of land in the region to help grow the population and ensure there's enough infrastructure and opportunities to attract people to the area.
The council plans to engage the community with a series of online workshops and surveys this month, and Ms O'Neill said she'd like to hear ideas the council hasn't thought of.
"Particularly as we come into the COVID-19 recovery period, this will be a critical time to engage with our business community about how we support them to get things back to normal," she said.
"Here in the Tamworth region we've seen very little impact [from COVID-19] in terms of our GDP.
"Last year it dropped about 1.7 per cent and when you compare us against other regions in NSW we did significantly better.
"We want these strategies to be guided by the community. Economic development is about more than council delivering new projects and infrastructure - it is about collaborating with our community to develop clear strategic themes and priorities that we can all work towards together."
Community members can register for the workshops on the TRC website.
Sessions will be run for Nundle, Manilla, Tamworth and Barraba residents.
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