General News

14 June, 2024

Positive moves for Tablelands economy

THE Tablelands economy is continuing to grow strongly, with the latest figures showing the region’s gross regional product (GRP) is now standing at $1.59 billion, unemployment at only 3.1% and the highest number of people in jobs since 2001.

Positive moves for Tablelands economy - feature photo

The economic indicators are for the Tablelands Regional Council area and show its most productive industry – agriculture, forestry and fishing –  is now generating $304 million, which is up by $40 million from 2016-17. 

Next was mining at $152.2 million, then Health Care and Social Assistance at $140.3 million ($33 million more than 2016-17), followed by construction at $102 million.

The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector also has the largest output of all industries, generating $701 million in 2022-23, which is almost double what it recorded in 2001.

No doubt this has helped boost the region’s GRP for the region which is the highest in nine years and up by 1.8% over the previous year.

In the employment space, the Tablelands had 11,012 jobs in 2023, the second highest in 20 years and 2.88% more than in 2022.

There were 12,094 residents employed in the year ending June 2023 – a 3.5% rise on the previous 12 months.

In the 2023 September quarter, the unemployment rate on the Tablelands was 3.1%, below the national figure of 3.6% and state figure of 3.8%.

Last year, the household services sector – which takes in accommodation and food services, education and training, health care and social assistance, and arts and recreation services – accounted for 39.0% of employment on the Tablelands. 

This sector has increased by 33.7% in the past 11 years.

Tablelands Mayor Rod Marti couldn’t be happier with the latest figures, saying “our major economic indicators are moving in a positive direction”. 

“I’m particularly pleased with the growth in agriculture sector, which is our most productive industry as well as growth in our healthcare sector, which recorded a strong increase in jobs. 

“Both industries have positive flow on impacts across our broader economy.

“A slow-down in the construction industry was expected due to the completion of the Atherton Hospital, however our Incentive Policy is supporting our strategic industries including construction, housing and health.”

Mayor Marti said it was no surprise the region continued to grow in all ways.

“We are not immune to economic head winds, like high interest rates and rising costs, but our housing is affordable compared to major metropolitan areas and, when you look at our region, you can understand why it is growing,” he said.

“The lifestyle we offer is great for families and older people. It’s cooler than the coast, our community is welcoming, and living is affordable. 

“There’s plenty to see and do – galleries, markets, nature, wildlife, cycling, swimming, kayaking – and we have a strong sense of community.

“As a council we are investing in this lifestyle. We’re making sure our infrastructure is growing to meet future need and investing in shared places like the Priors Creek Development and Millaa Millaa Falls improvements.”

The new economic figures show that local sales by industry (measures the output of local industries that is sold locally) rose by $536 million between 2000-01 and 2022-23, with increases in health care and social assistance (+$132 million), construction (+$80 million), professional, scientific and technical services (+$47 million), and the retail trade (+$46 million).

Overall, construction had the highest local sales, generating $369 million in 2022/23 – up by 21.7% from 2001.

An analysis of the total exports by industry sectors on the Tablelands in 2021-22 shows the three largest industries were agriculture, forestry and fishing ($564 million), mining ($123 million), and manufacturing ($84 million).

In combination, these three industries accounted for $771 million in total or 78% of the total exports by industry on the Tablelands.


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