A DIGITAL economy could create opportunities for Albury-Wodonga valued at hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
That has been revealed in a report to go before Wodonga Council’s meeting tonight.
Councillors will be asked to back a recommendation that Wodonga seek community comment on the draft Albury-Wodonga Digital Economy Strategy.
The report mentions how Albury Council is also seeking comment over the strategy, with both councils after replies by November 30 in time for meetings on December 16.
Wodonga economic development manager Matt Taylor said extensive consultation had already been undertaken to develop the strategy, a joint project of the two councils.
Mr Taylor said in his report this feedback was merged with statistical data to create 30 actions to be delivered over the next two years.
“Conservatively” the benefits for Albury-Wodonga of going down this path, he said, would be “a 3 per cent rise in gross value”.
That translated to an extra $238 million for the Border economy every year.
“At the optimal end (of 18 per cent) the economic benefit increases to over $857 million annually.”
That was within the context of Albury-Wodonga’s gross regional product of an estimated $4.7 billion.
Mr Taylor said the digital economy was greater than the National Broadband Network.
“It comprises computers, navigational devices, phones, game consoles and devices people use every day,” he said.
“The digital economy includes paying for goods with debit or credit cards.
“As such it is becoming more and more a part of everyday life for residents and businesses.”
Feedback has already been derived through community consultation sessions in both cities, two business workshops, seven industry-specific sessions and from the recently released Albury-Wodonga business survey.
Recommendations include the councils expanding their level of online services and their communications and marketing divisions increasing their use of forums such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google to deliver “rich-media” projects.
It is hoped, for example, within six months the strategy would be able to establish a “digital retail champions” network.
The aim would be to discuss ways to create better ways of using digital for retail opportunities.
Also, the chambers of commerce would collaborate on a program to raise awareness of the benefits of e-commerce.