ONE of Australia’s most successful businessmen, Gerry Ryan, reckons the biggest issue facing regional areas is the “talent pool” or lack thereof.
The Jayco founder was the guest speaker at a Wodonga forum yesterday to promote regional business opportunities in the Hume region.
Hosted by the Hume Regional Development Australia committee, the forum featured a quartet of national business and economic development leaders, including Mr Ryan.
“The biggest issue I find, especially in hospitality, is the talent pool,” Mr Ryan said.
“We need to develop skills sets in regional areas because you don’t have the large pool of people to draw on.
“You also need to have a vision and you need people behind that vision to drive it.”
Mr Ryan was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1999 in recognition of his significant and extensive contribution to the nation’s manufacturing, leisure, sport and tourism industries.
He described his journey to becoming a successful businessman to a large crowd at The Cube Wodonga, including Tim Mathieson, partner of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and former Wangaratta Council chief executive Doug Sharp.
The deputy secretary at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, Justin Hanney, also spoke on the state of the nation’s economy, focusing on investment in the Hume Region.
“We need to continue to look at infrastructure projects,” he said.
“What we are seeing happen, in particular at Logic, is outstanding and Wodonga’s CBD development will really take it into a space that will see it as one of the leading regional cities in the country.”
Mr Hanney, a former chief executive with Wangaratta Council, said the decision to place the council into administration earlier this month would allow the Rural City of Wangaratta to re-group and think about its long-term future.
“From my perspective, it will be business as usual,” he said.
“It will just be a different government structure until such time as the 2016 elections come around.”