Chamber president says lack of infrastructure in region

A LACK of infrastructure is hampering the Bundaberg region — and workers are paying for it in the hip pocket.

Bundaberg Chamber of Commerce president Tim Sayre yesterday called for governments to invest in infrastructure in light of new figures which show the average wage in Bundaberg is $51,985.

Mr Sayre said this average was comparable with many other regional centres.

Just down the road in Hervey Bay, the average is $50,166 and in Maryborough it’s $50,712.

To the north, the average salary in Gladstone is $59,204 and in Rockhampton it’s $53,722. However, in Brisbane it’s over $60,000 and in Sydney it’s closer to $70,000.

The data comes from PayScale, a data company that specialises in helping employees understand their worth in the job market.

“For our area, Bundaberg is slightly ahead of Hervey Bay and Maryborough and only slightly below Rockhampton, Cairns and the Gold Coast, the last two with significantly larger populations than Bundaberg,” Mr Sayre said.

“The average salary is not that much lower when you compare it with other areas, and really shows that Bundaberg is holding its own.”

He said while people were beginning to realise just how great a place Bundaberg was to live, some underpinning factors such as the drought and water security, were limiting factors.

“Businesses have been tightening their belts for a while now, cutting expenditure, in some cases, just to stay afloat, and this includes some business owners not paying themselves a wage,” Mr Sayre said.

He said the drought impacted Bundaberg’s agricultural sector, meaning farmers were spending available cash on water, power and feed.

To offset this, Mr Sayre said companies and organisations needed to be encourages to relocate their business to this part of the country.

“The biggest things that have limited us to date is a lack of any existing infrastructure spending by Government,” he said.

“We have had promises and commitments made, but nothing at turn key yet.

“The delays surrounding Pacific Tugs is an example of this, as is the Hinkler deal.”

Mr Sayre said the Government’s role was to stimulate investment in a region by committing to projects and delivering investment.

“Heck at this point, I’d even settle for getting the politicians to do a rain dance, if it would help,” he said.

For more figures detailing salaries across the country, click here.