Leadership and entrepreneurs key to future

OUR ship is ready to dock and it's the people steering it who are bringing it into calm waters.

Tough calls at the right time are the reason Gladstone is thriving.

Leadership, perception, entrepreneurs and confidence set the foundation for a region's success, ground-breaking research the Regional Australia Institute released on Friday has revealed.

Two of the city's high-profile leaders said the mining and port city was sailing into smooth seas.

Mayor Gail Sellers said Gladstone's strong economic shape was the work of driven people who stood by their hard decisions.

"If you look at the way the greater Gladstone region has developed, it's evidence of good leadership over many years," Cr Sellers said.

"You can look at all of the industry that's come to the region in the last 20 years - this has been placed to the north (for air quality reasons) and this is because we've seen that the prevailing winds are from the south-east."

Regional Australia Institute chief Su McCluskey said the research - which looked at the impact of leadership, perception, entrepreneurs and confidence on two NSW cities - proved a place was only as good as its people and the decisions they made.

"Leadership is a very strong factor," she said.

"What we see is that leadership and entrepreneurs are two key factors in helping tap into a region's potential.

"Look at the fact that it's often those factors that will give a competitive advantage to a region."

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development chief Glenn Churchill said the region needed leaders and entrepreneurs. 

Glenn Churchill
Glenn Churchill Contributed

"One of the key aspects is ensuring that there is a plan ... put in place and making sure there is a firm focus and a firm commitment to delivering the plan," he said.

"Leadership comes in many different forms. It's imperative that we not only have leaders, but that we develop leadership.

"It can come through entrepreneurship. It can also come through creative passion.

"There are people who think about doing it and there are others who are getting on and doing it - and that's the difference for the Gladstone region."

Cr Sellers said regardless of how they were perceived, leaders had a major impact.

She said up-and-coming business people fed into the city's confidence.

"There are leaders that are popular and leaders who make decisions for the good of the region," she said.

"And they're not always popular for the decisions that they make.

"Gladstone is an area of opportunity and therefore we need entrepreneurs to take up that opportunity that presents and if we look at Gladstone and the number of new businesses that have started, look at how well people have done.

"When industry comes, opportunity presents."


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