Bendigo’s Optimism makes for a Regional Australia Manufacturing Model

Media Release

The City of Bendigo has today given Australia the ‘model’ to revive regional Australia’s cities and towns and the nation’s manufacturing industry based on pride, optimism, innovation and invention.

The announcement of around $300 million of private sector manufacturing investment by the members of the Bendigo Manufacturing Group has topped off a month-long campaign by Bendigo to unearth its optimists, innovation and invention.  The campaign was partnered and supported by Australian-based thinktank The Centre for Optimism.

The Bendigo Invention and Innovation Festival ends tomorrow with a celebration of success.

“Australia’s economic development leaders can learn an enormous amount about ‘revival’ and ‘resilience’ from the 10-fold increase in registrations and attendance at the Bendigo Invention and Innovation Festival with the theme – Optimism Through Innovation,” said Victor Perton, the COO of The Centre for Optimism.

“We saw a regional event become a global event with participants from Denver in the US to Denmark,” he said. “It put Bendigo and its initiative ‘on the global map’.

“It also drew out the optimism and passion of state and national leaders from the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to the Leaders of the Opposition through to bank heads, industry and science leaders and to schoolchildren.

“While we value government commitment to infrastructure expenditure, and support these programs, the success of manufacturing and business depends on the optimism and passion of entrepreneurs, businesspeople and their committed staff, employees, shareholders and stakeholders.

“Most of all it involves local communities getting behind these initiatives with pride in what is being done and the value of their community in their success.”

Bendigo Voices of Optimism – positive voice for inspiration and change

The City of Greater Bendigo, in partnership with the Centre for Optimism, is currently expanding its initiative with an innovative campaign “The Voices of Optimism”.

This campaign embraces a wide range of industry, community, education and health leaders, including the Mayor, Councillor Margaret O’Rourke, sharing their reasons for optimism to promote the positive force of optimism in the Bendigo community and to showcase why the Bendigo region is a great place to live, do business, study and enjoy.

The Bendigo Invention and Innovation Festival – a model for regional growth

The City of Greater Bendigo is also the lead partner in The Bendigo Invention and Innovation Festival with its theme “Optimism through Innovation” and includes schools, universities and Bendigo’s manufacturing sector.  The festival was launched by Victoria’s Innovation Minister Jaala Pulford and Bendigo Bank’s Managing Director Marnie Baker.

The initiative also has the added health dimension of the research from a team at Harvard University’s Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  which has published research showing optimists have a lower risk of high blood pressure and hypertension.   This reinforces other recent prominent medical science findings establishing optimism as the trait most associated with healthy longevity, a lower risk of heart disease and better sleep.

Most importantly, the research lead Professor Laura Kubzansky, Harvard’s Lee Kum Kee Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said: “Optimism is a health asset and a potential target for public health interventions.”

“The Science Backs Bendigo’s Optimism Campaign,” said Victor Perton.  “Bendigo is ahead of the game fostering optimism in its community and helping its leaders and people consider what makes them optimistic.”

“Despite the extreme COVID lockdowns and curfews impacting on the whole of The State of Victoria and Australia, the organisers had the optimism and the foresight to continue with the campaign with an unfamiliar online platform leading to a 10-fold increase in registrations and a global audience.  The organisers attracted support from the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, the Leader of The Opposition and Senators,” said Mr Perton.

“Greater Bendigo has long prospered from inventions and innovations and we are proud of our reputation as a forward-thinking City of the Future,” said Cr Margaret O’Rourke.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been the great disrupter and now, more than ever, the ability to invent, innovate, and capitalise on new ideas are key to business success and survival, whatever the size or industry.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been the great disrupter and now, more than ever, the ability to invent, innovate and capitalise on new ideas are key to business success and survival, whatever the size or industry. Greater Bendigo has a fantastic optimistic community spirit which is why it’s a great place to live, study and work.”

Chairman of the Centre for Optimism, Robert Masters, said the Bendigo Festival was ‘a model’ for the Federal government and regional Australia to adopt in promoting the revival of Australia’s manufacturing sector and regional pride and the ‘can-do’ attitude of its people.

“Australians are noted for their innovation; it runs through our history, from the time of the stump-jump plough to the black box flight recorder, the heart pacemaker, photovoltaic cells, X-ray crystallography and even the Hills rotary clothes hoist,” he said.

“The country has the opportunity to be competitive in the global innovation race and cannot afford to fall behind its peers in education, research, investment and entrepreneurial ship.

“If we want to be a top-tier innovation nation by 2030[1], the Bendigo Model is the inspirational initiative that can carry all these pillars and promote regional cities and towns to be great places to live, study and work.”

The Innovation and Science Australia Report released in Nov 2017 (the 2030 Plan) made 30 recommendations for governments to help achieve the goal of being a top-tier innovation nation by 2030, including launching a landmark National Missions program to inspire innovators, progress solutions to big problems, and generate national passion and pride in innovation and science achievements.

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