The National Institute for Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) have been commissioned to model what the future may look like taking into account the new projects already underway and potential new initiatives in the North. Their report predicts a falling workforce and wage stagnation unless we act now.
Northern Tasmanian Development Corporation (NTDC) and its seven Council Members acknowledge that economic growth underpins regional prosperity, assists in driving quality job opportunities, and makes the region a more attractive place to live. NTDC has been charged with creating conditions that will allow the region to achieve significant increases in employment, wages and economic growth over the next decade.
NIEIR reports that our economy has been disappointing, underperforming over the last decade. Crucially for regional prosperity, real household incomes have dropped over this period. This is a contrast with prior decade where there was growth in household income, employment and gross regional product (GRP).
Recent signs of recovery over last 18 months show growth in household income, employment, GRP, and businesses sentiment. Despite this, if current economic and demographic trends continue, northern Tasmania’s working age population will fall by 8%, and wages will stagnate over the next decade, while the national average wage rises.
The report says there are things we can do to change our future:
- Attract more people of working age (an additional 350 people moving to the region per year)
- Increase education and skills which will increase productivity and wages
- Increase exports out of our region to Australia and overseas
The UTAS Transformation project will assist by bringing more students and staff to the region. University qualifications and research will boost the skills and productivity of our local residents and create the workforce we need to support businesses to be competitive into the future.
Northern Tasmania must build on industries with export potential: agriculture; food and beverage manufacturing; forestry and wood products; and other competitive manufacturing. We need to strengthen regional supply chains, value add to our products and collaborate to be globally competitive.
Professor Kilpatrick, Acting Chair of NTDC, says “Northern Tasmania must encourage our residents to take advantage of education available locally, including from UTAS and TasTAFE. We must welcome more working age people to replace those who will exit the workforce over the next 10 years. This will increase our productivity and prevent household income from falling.”
“Finally, we want to support Industry to invest capital to either start-up business or invest in business expansion, with the ultimate result of increasing exports to other parts of Australia and overseas.”
To learn more about the Regional Economic Development Plan and what NTDC does see http://ntdc.org.au/redp18/.
The finalised report on the current economy and future scenarios will be available to the public in August 2018.
Contact: Prof Sue Kilpatrick directly on 0407 336 857.