Economic Development Manager

Job No: PEAK381
Location: Proserpine

The Region

The Whitsunday Region is in the heart of tropical North Queensland, about 1,100km north of Brisbane and 700km south of Cairns. The region is home to the major townships of Bowen to the north, Collinsville to the west, Airlie Beach to the south and Proserpine.

The region is home to one of the world’s seven natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef and the magnificent 74 Whitsunday Islands including Hamilton Island, Daydream Island and Hayman Island. However, the Whitsunday Region is so much more than just a coral coast wonder, boasting substantial national parkland, ancient rainforests, and exotic wildlife, as well as a diverse landscape from lush cane fields to wide, open valleys, mountainous ranges, and fertile agricultural pastures.


Economic snapshot

Boasting a strong and diverse economy driven by the $1.05B mining, $840M tourism and $630M agricultural industries, the Whitsunday Region has the potential to become an economic powerhouse of North Queensland.

Due to the strength of the local economy, the region’s population is expected to exceed the State’s annual growth rate, resulting in a resident population approaching 50,000 by 2036 with just under 5 million visitor nights each year.

The Whitsunday economy is well connected to major trading centres with the Bruce Highway the major transport corridor running from Mackay in the South to Townsville in the North. The region is also home to 2 major airports with regular and daily flights to Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne.  

 Several Priority Projects are currently progressing or are in planning, including:  

  • Economic Development Strategy;
  • Whitsunday Trade Coast and Airport Precinct;  
  • Whitsunday Marine Centre of Excellence;  
  • Shute Harbour Redevelopment; 
  • Lake Proserpine Barramundi Fishing and Tourism Development;  
  • Airlie Beach Luxury Hotel and Conference Precinct;  
  • Regional Water security Infrastructure Projects; and  
  • Mine, Rail and Solar Projects in and around Collinsville.  

For targeted statistical information about the region, using the latest available data, please visit our Economy ID economic profile.

About Council

The Whitsunday Council region extends over 23,862 square kilometres and includes the major townships as highlighted above, with numerous rural and coastal communities and residential areas scattered throughout the area.

They administer more than $1.4 billion in assets, including four library branches, six aquatic facilities, four customer service centres as well as various major infrastructure and equipment. Council maintains 1784 km of roads and 120 parks and open spaces.

Delivering a sustainable future for our community is the focus of the 2021-22 Whitsunday Regional Council Budget adopted unanimously at a special meeting in Proserpine on the 28th of June 2021.

 “As we recover from the health and economic challenges of COVID-19, Council is committed to investing in what makes our regional towns such great places to live, work and play". 

“Council and our Whitsunday community have a history of banding together through cyclones and monsoonal rain events and the lingering COVID-19 pandemic has been no different,” Mayor Willcox said.

“We realise the crucial role Council needs to play in delivering strong financial management, local jobs and leading our community forward to get people back on their feet.

“Importantly, Council’s $127M operating budget ensures we maintain sound financial management through a surplus of $470,000,” he said.

This 2021/22 Budget will see the finalisation of key recovery projects from 2017 Cyclone Debbie, including Bowen’s Flagstaff Hill, the Proserpine Entertainment Centre, and the revitalised Shute Harbour terminal. Once completed these major facilities will create jobs for locals and help forge a bright future for the Whitsunday region.

Council consists of the Office of the Mayor & CEO and four Directorates:

  • Infrastructure Services – roads and drainage; parks and gardens; water; wastewater; waste; quarry; major projects; disaster management and recovery services.
  • Corporate Services – financial services; procurement; asset management; property services; fleet management; GIS, innovation, and technology; records management and corporate governance.
  • Community Services – community and library services; sports and aquatic facilities; environmental and public health; climate change; community events; regulatory matters; cultural heritage; community safety; customer service and Council’s caravan parks and local laws.
  • Development Services – economic development, urban design, land use planning, development assessment and compliance, infrastructure planning, environmental planning, nature conservation and place making.

For further details about Council please click HERE

To access the Economic Development Strategy 2017-2021 please click HERE

About the Position

Reporting to Neil McGaffin (Director Development Services) the position has two direct reports.  One of these is focussed on Research and the other on Grant writing.  Whilst the focus is still on executing the 2017-2021 Economic Development plan the 2022-2025 Strategy should be finalised by the 3rd Quarter of this year and will be an up to date 'road map' of priorities moving forward.

Your initial focus will be on being 'out there' making connections with various stakeholders eg Tourism Whitsundays, Bowen District Growers Association, various other Community Groups, the Chamber of Commerce as well as State and Federal entities. Underpinning this will be identifying emerging economic and political trends which impact the region, whilst driving an agenda of innovation and a commitment to high standards of relationship development, reputation management and customer service. Some ideas that are gaining traction include flying fresh produce direct out of the region, the Space Launch facility at Abbot Point and the Clean Energy hub at Abbot Point. Whilst some of these are at the early stages it will give you an idea of the breadth of opportunities that exist in the region.

This is very much a 'doing role' and you will energetically and enthusiastically work with and across Council and external stakeholders to maximise every opportunity.  

For further details please access the Position Description HERE

About You

Renowned for your high energy and enthusiasm, you could be currently working in a larger entity and see this as an opportunity to manage Economic Development across one of the most beautiful regions in Australia or conversely you may have significant experience and be interested in a 'sea change'. Regardless, you will have strong stakeholder management experience, have connections across industry and government and bring a passion and focus to the role with the aim of improving business outcomes and attracting investment across the region.

Whilst local government experience either working in or alongside Councils would be highly regarded it is not a prerequisite. Understandably, you will have relevant tertiary qualifications and an innate grasp of economic drivers and the ability to apply these to a range of development ideas, proposals, and enquiries. 

Why this Role?

Firstly, you will love a challenge! You will derive satisfaction from achieving strong employment growth across the region.  Council is supporting a job board initiative where all local businesses can post vacancies to assist in driving employment.  Your focus ultimately will be around a multitude of 'little steps' vs one big one as you strive to make a difference.

And of course, there is the lifestyle. Is there anywhere more picturesque from the colour of the water in the Whitsundays to the tropical lifestyle and apart from 74 islands to explore off the coast, there is an amazing array of destinations to explore inland so whatever your leisure interests there is something for everyone! 

You will be based in Proserpine on a 4-year Contract - Council have several leases on properties which enables you to salary package rent so please be reassured of assistance in what is a tight rental market along the eastern seaboard currently.  

A Salary of circa $115K per annum + Super + $18k vehicle allowance is available for the successful candidate together with relocation assistance.  The ability for 100% salary sacrifice of private rental will bolster your take home salary.  

PEAK Services is working in conjunction with Whitsunday Regional Council exclusively on this position. We offer local government expertise across a wide range of professional fields, providing tailored solutions for councils and other similar organisations. We work with our clients to deliver meaningful outcomes in the recruitment and contracting services. 

How to Apply

Before you apply for this position, please read the position description carefully to assess your eligibility and suitability for the position.  You will be required to answer a few questions that relate to the criteria on the online application below.  Please note that you cannot submit your application without attaching your resume.  A cover letter is not mandatory, but may be added if so desired. When uploading your Resume or documents please ensure file names should only include 'A-z', '0-9', '.' and '-' characters.

PLEASE NOTE: Once you have commenced your application you cannot save and continue at a later stage. 

Applications will close on Monday 26th July at 10 pm.  Please ensure you leave adequate time to complete you application before the closing date and time. 

For a confidential conversation, please call Rona Horsfall on 0438 943854 at Peak Recruitment Services.


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