The last year was one of steady evolution. There was the release of a Government Budget focused on wellbeing, as well as the announcement of a $7.5 billion surplus. There was also the reversal on the tabling of a capital gains tax.
There were various changes to employment legislation, with Fair Pay Agreements one of the more highly publicised issues through the year. Immigration was also in the spotlight, with changes to employer-assisted temporary work visa settings.
There were the local body elections, and the appointment of a new Chief Executive, which we hope will provide a fresh burst of energy for the council to gain traction on key issues and developments this year.
In the education sector, the big news was the launch of the Reform of Vocational Education, which aims to encourage collaboration between the business community and education providers to ensure we have a fit-for-purpose future workforce.
As we stride into the New Year, I think we will see more of these ‘big picture’ issues being addressed, largely driven by the 2020 general election.
With low unemployment rates – and interest rates – and a housing market that is starting to turn, the economy may not be such a big issue and other key drivers, such as the future of work and climate change will really come to the fore.
I look forward to a transformational year ahead and helping to shape Canterbury as a vibrant, dynamic region that supports local businesses and provides a strong quality of life and community outcomes for all.