Our economy still stable

DESPITE doom and gloom reports of rising unemployment, Gympie's economy is fairly stable and should improve soon, say business leaders.

The number of people receiving Centrelink benefits in Gympie had risen by 1.4 per cent in the past two years however, the Gympie Regional Council reported a population increase of about 3 per cent each year.

“When there's a downturn, the trough in Gympie is not as deep,” Jobmatch Manager Garry Davison said.

“We don't get a big fluctuation in employment here.”

After talking to some of the business owners, Gympie Regional Mayor Ron Dyne agreed.

“I haven't heard of any substantial increase in unemployment,” he said.

“As one of the largest employers in the region, Gympie Regional Council hasn't been impacted (by the economic downturn) at this stage.”

“(The economy) is looking fairly positive - building applications are still up there. I don't think there is cause to worry about the recessional side of things at this point. Gympie is fairly constant - there is a better spread of industry and development here.”

“IT appears to me we don't have the big peaks and troughs coastal areas (are affected by), Cr Dyne told The Gympie Times yesterday.

J Smith & Sons managing director Kerren Smith said the service industry wasn't doing too bad but there was a general wind back among businesses.

Because the mining industry has slowed, J. Smith & Sons has been the hardest hit by the current economic climate.

“We dropped 12 per cent of our workforce but there's certainly no doom and gloom. I think we've hit the bottom and it will improve from here,” Mr Smith said yesterday.

Gympie Chamber of Commerce president Andrew Smith said Gympie seemed to be fairing better than most centres with local businesses weathering the current economic climate reasonably well and generally retaining current staff.

“What is helping us here in Gympie is that new businesses are opening and employing local people,” he said.

“We've seen Harvey Norman open its doors here because of the growth in population and most recently Cooloola Cove Shopping Centre.

“There is new business activity and that stimulates employment.”

The Queensland Parliament's Economic Development Committee this week reported unemployment in Gympie at 7.3 per cent and is seeking ideas from individuals, groups and businesses as part of its inquiry into employment creation.

“The committee strongly encourages input from the Gympie community on how to best generate employment opportunities,” Committee Chairman, Evan Moorhead said.

The committee is focusing on identifying world's best practice in programs that stimulate employment, as well as how Queensland can develop its strengths in its traditional and emerging industries.

“Queensland has always been economically strong in those areas that capitalise on our natural resources, such as mining, tourism and agriculture,” Mr Moorhead said.

“However, Queensland also needs to develop its emerging industries in science, research, development and technology to be competitive in the global environment and the committee is inquiring into how we can do this,” Mr Moorhead said.

An issues paper that provides information on the inquiry, the committee, and how to make a submission is available online at http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/edc or you can contact committee staff on 1800 504 022.

Gympie Times

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