Gympie has a new youthful edge as families flee 'overpriced' Sunshine Coast and Noosa regions
GYMPIE has emerged as the vibrant beating heart of a new youthful region, according to a leading Sunshine Coast property economist.
But University of the Sunshine Coast economics and development expert Steven Boyd said the economy needed to mature and diversify to achieve its potential.
Dr Boyd, who is the university's program co-ordinator for property economics and development, said affordable property was the driver of hope for young people, driven out of the "grey south-east” by prices beyond the reach of the young.
"Gympie has quite a young population relative to the rest of Queensland,” he said.
"We're on the doorstep here at Noosa where I am and there are a lot of retirees and older people, because they can afford it.
"But young families are headed for Gympie.
"The greater Queensland population is relatively older and aging.”
But he warned population growth was not the only factor needed for prosperity.
"Population growth can be a driver that leads to shopping centres and growth in non-discretionary spending on things like milk and eggs. It definitely helps the economy along, but it's not the whole answer.
"We need to see other industries mature to provide more of those opportunities for young people, so they can stay or move back here to raise their own children.
"That's really the foundation you need to see the economy move forward, so young people can find jobs and stay or return here to raise their own families.
"Focusing on attracting small business could be the best hope of providing some of those jobs and encouraging young people to be entrepreneurial and establish their own businesses.
"A lot has to do with available business sites and residential places for them to live - that is the Gympie advantage,” Dr Boyd said.