Report reveals insights about regional jobs
HOTSPOTS for key industries driving the growth of Australia's regional areas have been identified following the release of a national report.
The Regional Australia Institute has unveiled its national Regional Growth Prospects Report and it has revealed key insights into the economic future of regional Australia.
RAI co-chief Liz Ritchie said the report pinpointed regions across the country where jobs in tourism, food processing, advanced manufacturing and creative industries really matter for local employment, and where policy makers and regional leaders should focus investment.
"By analysing jobs numbers, we can see where these 'specialised' regions are located - we can also see which ones are performing above national and industry trends, and which are not," Ms Ritchie said.
"Specialised regions in this report are the places where there is a high proportion of local jobs in the industry, compared to the national average for a place of that size.
"Business-led specialisation approaches are effective in supporting regions to maintain their competitiveness in national and global contexts."
The report identified Mackay as a specialised region in three of the four categories; food processing, tourism and advanced manufacturing.
But while there was a boost in 102 jobs in the region's food processing market, there were decreases in the remaining two categories.
Tourism suffered a 409 decrease in jobs and advanced manufacturing had a 479 decrease in jobs.
The final category, creative industries, experienced a drop in 259 jobs but Mackay is not recognised as a specialised region in this area.
"This report highlights that even though a region may be 'specialised', local factors play a significant role in either driving or restricting growth potential," Ms Ritchie said.
RAI co-chief Dr Kim Houghton said the research would enable policy makers and regional stakeholders to prioritise investment opportunities and help energise local economies in a more strategic way.
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"We are recommending policy makers tailor their approach in local regions - by supporting those who are performing above trends and removing barriers for those who are not," Dr Houghton said.
"We're also encouraging regional leaders to take a look at how their region is tracking, then kick start conversations about what plans are needed for the future."
Recent job vacancy figures showed there are more than 43,000 positions needed to be filled across regional Australia.
"If growth prospects are realised, workforce demand will increase. We are encouraging regions identified in this report to assess their local workforce and skills needed to ensure potential jobs can be filled," Dr Houghton said.
"Implementing regional learning systems or regional migration strategies as outlined in our Future of Regional Jobs Report, are two examples of ways communities can work with government to meet the demand."