THE strength of Bass Coast Shire’s economy ranks it among the state’s best.
Industry and business generate an annual economic output of $2.1 billion, unemployment is low and the outlook bright.
Business conditions are much better than the rest of Victoria and the economy is described as “resilient”.
Apparently the people are resilient too.
Every employee generates an average $116,500 a year of added value, which is 33 per cent higher than the state average of $87,400 and the area has coped better with the global financial crisis than the rest of rural Victoria.
Between now and 2031, population growth will create the need for 10,500 more dwellings – or an average 525 a year.
Shire council mayor Cr Veronica Dowman described the news as “wonderful”.
It’s contained in a report by Essential Economics, commissioned by council to gauge the impact of the scaling down of Wonthaggi desalination plant construction.
Cr Dowman said the report was glowing.
“We’re really performing well – there’s a strong economic base.”
But the report also indicates something of a two-tier economy.
Tony Cuzzupi said the same thing.
He has been in the motor trade in Wonthaggi for around 25 years. He told The Star his Toyota and Holden businesses are still seeing strong sales, but he knows of other local industries that aren’t doing so well.
Cr Dowman said the positive report didn’t surprise her as much as it would have if the last Westpac economic monitor for the March quarter hadn’t indicated the same result. The monitors were commissioned by the bank to judge the effect of the desalination plant on the shire’s economy.
They consistently showed the economy had an underlying strength, desalination construction aside.
This latest report was paid for by the council. It cost $15,000.
Council’s economic development manager Peter Francis said, “There was a lot of information out there in different reports and we thought it would be helpful to consolidate this information into one independent report.”
The top four performers in the Bass Coast economy are tourism contributing $1.05 billion annually, manufacturing contributing $367 million, construction $314m and rental, hiring and real estate services $267m.
According to the Essential Economics report, there are strong levels of business confidence, investment and employment growth.
Desalination plant construction has had both negative and positive impacts on the economy, but the wind down phase “is not expected to leave a significant vacuum”.
The shire’s workforce has shot up by 6420 or 74 per cent since 2002 and unemployment has halved from 9.7 to 4.5 per cent. Essential Economics describes that as “a remarkable turnaround”.
In the past three years, the unemployment rate has been lower than Melbourne’s and, since September 2008, it has been consistently lower than that of regional Victoria.
The highest concentration of jobs is in retail, health care, accommodation and food services and the most economically productive sectors are rental, hiring and real estate services, mining (quarries) and financial and insurance services.
Tourism supports more than 1400 direct and 950 indirect jobs.
Growth began well before the announcement of the desalination plant and “the future looks promising”.
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