Jobs have slipped in these three hotpsot industry in the Gympie region
Jobs have slipped in these three hotpsot industry in the Gympie region Renee Albrecht

REVEALED: 225 Gympie jobs drained away in 3 major industries

THREE major job growth areas in the Gympie region have gone backwards over a five year period, according to data released by the Regional Australia Institute.

A total of 225 were lost "from local conditions” rather than industry trends between 2011 and 2016 including 42 jobs from food processing - identified as a specialist industry in Gympie's job sector.

It was one of three Gympie industries, alongside advanced manufacturing and tourism, identified on an employment scale of regional Australian towns as an area with the least growth.

Advanced manufacturing lost 38 jobs, while tourism took a dramatic hit with a job loss of 145 jobs in the five year period, according to the RAI's Regional Growth Prospects report.

Creative industries, which includes musicians, photographers, dancers, artists, writers, graphic designers, architects and web developers was the only industry in the Gympie region of those measured that increased with a job rise of 20.

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The four industries are considered significant employment indicators.

"Food processing, tourism, advanced manufacturing and creative industries are largely driven by private, rather than public, sector activity and they are industries which provide significant employment,” the report stated.

"These industries also have a strong presence in regional Australian economies.”

Maleny Dairies' Ross Hopper (left) and local farmer Jason Rozynski partnered up to boost the local dairy industry in 2016
Maleny Dairies' Ross Hopper (left) and local farmer Jason Rozynski partnered up to boost the local dairy industry in 2016 Scott Kovacevic

The report uses job growth data between 2011 and 2016 to find where local conditions are either driving employment average rates or constraining employment growth to below average rates.

"Some local conditions that may contribute to job growth include the impacts of new businesses or business expansion, high human capital in the region, government or community programs, transport networks, access to research and technology and/or natural assets in the region,” the report, headed by senior researcher Hayley Achurch, states.

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"It is important to understand what local conditions are contributing to job growth or not, to enable regions to make adjustments and be better positioned to capture future job growth.”

Gympie's identification as specialist in the food processing industry, based on local job numbers compared to the national average, highlights the magnitude of its importance in the local economy, the report concludes.

PIONEERS: Macadamia industry pioneers Stan Henry and Norm Greber on Mr Greber's experimental macadamia orchard at Amamoor.
PIONEERS: Macadamia industry pioneers Stan Henry and Norm Greber on Mr Greber's experimental macadamia orchard at Amamoor. Courtesy Ian McConachie

In 2016, 37 per cent of regional Australian local government areas were specialised in food processing and a third had no jobs in food processing.

"This means there are very distinct areas where food processing is an important source of employment and a likely source of job generation.

"Specialised food processing regions are largely in the south west corner of Western Australia, surrounding Adelaide, throughout much of Victoria, inland along the New South Wales east coast, north western Tasmania and around the Queensland towns of Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton.

According to RAI theory, the Gympie region could take advantage of growth in the food processing where there is already a sign of proven competitiveness.

"Regions that specialise are better able to demonstrate the capability to be competitive in global supply chains, and are where it is most important to be prepared for opportunities and/or changes,” the report states.

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The report said experience from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that business-led specialisation approaches are effective in supporting regions to maintain their competitiveness in national and global contexts.

"Local conditions that contribute to job growth may include assured labour and skills, business expansions, government or community initiatives and natural or infrastructure assets.”

"Identifying these local conditions is key in deciding how to build on local strengths which are driving job growth or reduce barriers which are constraining job growth.”

Job growth in the Gympie region (2011-2016)

Tourism: (Not specialised), -145 jobs from local conditions

Food processing: (Specialised), -42 jobs from local conditions

Advanced manufacturing: (Not specialised), -38 jobs from local conditions

Creative industries: (Not specialised), 20 jobs form local conditions

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