Adopted by Council

Tuesday 22 August 2023

We are pleased to advise the Economic Development Strategy 'Business on the Beaches' was adopted by Council at it's meeting on 22 August 2023.

The strategy was adopted as recommended in the report to Council, including:

  • approving the establishment of a Northern Beaches Business and Industry Stakeholder Committee to monitor implementation of the Economic Development Strategy in accordance with Terms of Reference; and
  • nominating Councillors Grattan, Crvelin, Gencher and Menano-Pires, along with the Mayor, to become members of the Northern Beaches Business and Industry Stakeholder Committee.

Read the meeting minutes and the adopted strategy below:

Engagement history

Our vision for the Northern Beaches economy

We exhibited the draft Economic Development Strategy (EDS) 'Business on the Beaches'. The draft strategy aims to grow and support businesses across the whole of the Northern Beaches and build a sustainable and resilient economy.

The last three years have shown how vital it is to have a vibrant local economy and the need to plan for changing economic conditions. It has also shown that local government has an important role in working with industry and other levels of Government to enable businesses to adapt and thrive.

The strategy has been developed based on what we’ve heard from surveys of businesses and residents, and several comprehensive studies of the Local Government Area's (LGA) economy. You can view these studies in the Document links.

The strategy identifies what makes the Northern Beaches local economy distinct and what we want to be known for as a place to start, grow or attract new business. It will build on our emerging competitive advantages, including our strong entrepreneurial spirit, creating new opportunities for short-term economic recovery and longer-term prosperity over the next decade and beyond.

You can learn more about Business on the Beaches on this page.

The draft

Breaking down the draft strategy

Our strategy to meet the vision has four recurring themes. Each theme has a goal, a series of objectives and an action plan.

Click on the tiles below to learn more about each theme.

Limited time?

Watch our brief explainer webinar to learn more about the strategy or take a look at the Strategy snapshot further below to read more about the items that interest you.


Business on the Beaches


Strategy snapshots

Check out the snapshot items in the expandable boxes below.

We have prepared our first Northern Beaches-wide Economic Development Strategy (EDS) to be known as 'Business on the Beaches'.

The draft EDS sets a vision that 'The Northern Beaches is a more diverse, innovative, vibrant and green economy' and outlines the key economic challenges, opportunities and aspirations for the Local Government Area (LGA) over the next 10 years. It seeks to assist local businesses in their post COVID-19 recovery while planning for a sustainable economy long into the future.

The draft EDS sets out how Northern Beaches Council can attract, sustain and support businesses under four guiding themes:

  • diverse economy
  • innovative economy
  • vibrant economy
  • green economy

For each theme there is a goal supported by a series of objectives, actions and measures.

The draft EDS has been prepared by consultancy NDP Economic Development and is based on a thorough analysis of the economic climate and engagement with the local Northern Beaches business community.

It is informed by detailed technical studies, namely the Northern Beaches Employment Study undertaken by SGS Economics & Planning, and the more recent Economic Health Check prepared by .id Consulting.

Read the executive summary section of the draft EDS here.

The draft EDS identifies a number of opportunities, as well as key challenges, with building a more vibrant, sustainable and resilient local economy.


  • innovation - new spaces or hubs to attract knowledge-based businesses and workers that align with the skills and aspirations of residents.
  • entrepreneurship - with some of the most talented professionals in Sydney and higher levels of home-based businesses, a focus on start-ups could grow the culture of entrepreneurship through information sharing, promotion, and networking opportunities.
  • town centres - through a combination of promotion, events, public domain improvements and regulations to revitalise our town centres, welcoming back locals and visitors.
  • cultural and creative industry- the Northern Beaches is home to the largest concentration of cultural and creative businesses outside of the Sydney CBD, offering scope for further growth by establishing creative hubs.
  • green economy- with local consumers wanting sustainable products and a high proportion of residents having the skills that could support a green economy, potential to explore and promote emerging investment opportunities in this sector.

Key challenges:

  • traffic congestion - this common frustration of business owners is slow transport for staff, customers, and suppliers, thus reducing profits.
  • no major CBD - it is harder to attract major corporates and provide jobs that match residents’ skills without a significant CBD.
  • lower paid roles - the absence of international students and working travellers, as well as rising housing costs that force many key workers to live outside of the LGA, has limited the pool of workers for lower-paid roles.
  • industrial and warehousing areas - these areas must be protected as they allow for existing and emerging industries that support the ongoing performance and functionality of the Northern Beaches economy.

Vision: "The Northern Beaches is a more diverse, innovative, vibrant and green economy."

Diverse refers to the variety of different industry sectors, a mix of business sizes, and people with different skills and backgrounds participating in a more resilient economy.

Innovative refers to the entrepreneurial and creative economy that encourages start-ups, home-based businesses and creative and cultural industries.

Vibrant refers to thriving and welcoming town centres that attract residents and visitors during the day and into the evening.

Green is about protecting and enhancing the natural environment as the economy grows.

We have established objectives, actions and measures under each of these themes, as part of an economic development strategy that we’ll use to partner with business, community groups and other levels of government to deliver.

As we implement and monitor this strategy over the next decade and beyond, we will measure success across a range of indicators, such as:

  • closing the gap between the jobs available locally and career aspirations of the community
  • increasing business start-up rates
  • growing visitation and local spend
  • reducing CO2 emissions and supporting a more circular economy.

Our role as Council is to provide leadership, good governance, advocacy and a competitive business-enabling environment.

Specifically, we:

  • provide leadership, corporate planning and governance
  • manage land and property development through the approval process
  • provide and maintain critical infrastructure and services
  • provide environmental management and health services
  • manage town centres and place activation
  • maintain and communicate economic statistics and information.

Some of our recent dedicated support for the business community and local economy included:

  • Business Support Service: a one-stop-shop to navigating Council approval processes or accessing NSW Government support
  • Back to Business program: streamlined processes to help business reopen in COVID-safe conditions
  • business events and webinars: from digital marketing, resilience and recovery to financial planning and energy efficiency
  • Beaches Biz News: a monthly newsletter to 14,000 local businesses that covers Council and NSW Government business news and support
  • employment precincts: structure plans and place plans for economic activity in existing and emerging employment areas
  • public domain improvements: from footpath upgrades to new public spaces
  • town centre activations and events: to encourage visitation to local centres and increase local spending
  • networks: including the Sustainability Business Network and Culture Map Live to encourage businesses to network and share best practice
  • waste education: encouraging a circular approach to waste, through initiative such as Swap for Good.

What businesses seek from Council

In a survey of nearly 100 local business owners across all industry sectors and sizes, we heard we can best support the Northern Beaches economy by:

  • advocating for NBN and improved internet speeds (14%)
  • promoting local training and job opportunities (12%)
  • retaining industrial and warehousing spaces (12%)
  • addressing housing affordability for key workers (11%)
  • promoting the Northern Beaches as a genuine business location (10%).

Individual businesses want us to assist them by:

  • providing information on grants and financial support (13%)
  • ensuring affordable rental space for start-up businesses (12%)
  • supporting greater networking amongst businesses (12%)
  • encouraging Northern Beaches residents to buy local (11%)
  • streamlining council processes (e.g. DAs) (7%).

This information is derived from background analysis and studies. See the draft strategy to read the full industry analysis.

To inform the Economic Development Strategy, we sought to understand the different employment precincts in the LGA.

The employment precinct analysis is informed by our existing planning work, as well as the background studies that are listed on our website.

By looking at the jobs (current and forecast), spending, floorspace breakdown, and challenges and opportunities for each precinct, we find that the Northern Beaches economy offers an array of business settings and economic functions across industrial precincts, business parks, and strategic and local centres

The map and key below highlight the areas of analysis.

Read the full analysis of each employment precinct, local areas, larger industrial areas and business parks, from page 22 of the draft strategy.

How we engaged

Have we missed anything?

We wanted to know our community's aspirations and concerns when it comes to business and our local economy.

Whether you own a business, or would like to own a business, and how you interact with businesses already on the beaches - how can we help to support business recovery and ensure sustainable economic development?

When it comes to the economic health of the Northern Beaches we can all play a part.

We invited you to have your say by:

  • completing the submission form
  • emailing
  • in writing marked 'Draft Northern Beaches Economic Development Strategy', Northern Beaches Council, PO Box 82 Manly NSW 1655.

All submissions are treated as public documents and made available on request.

Next steps

Where appropriate we used your submissions to inform changes to the strategy.

Community consultation is an opportunity to influence how Council proceed, including whether the vision and themes are supported and how they are implemented. The outcomes of this exhibition including any changes to the strategy will be reported back to Council for adoption. Once the strategy is adopted we will start work on the action plans.

Consultation timeline

  • Timeline item 1 - complete

    Early 2021: commence Economic Development Strategy (including workshops with Economic and Smart Community SRG)

  • Timeline item 2 - complete

    Early-mid 2021: desktop analysis (including Economic Health Check)

  • Timeline item 3 - complete

    Late 2021: business engagement (1:1 interviews with key stakeholders and business survey)

  • Timeline item 4 - complete

    Late 2021-Sep 2022: revising and finalising the draft strategy (incorporating survey and study outcomes)

  • Timeline item 5 - complete

    13 Dec 2022: Report to Council (for endorsement to exhibit)

  • Timeline item 6 - complete

    30 Jan to 26 Mar 2023: Public exhibition

  • Timeline item 7 - complete

    22 Aug: Report to Council

  • Timeline item 8 - complete

    22 Aug: Adopted by Council