Northern Tasmania Benefitting from Regional Approach
Media Release | 18 October 2022
Two of the three economic growth targets set by the Northern Tasmanian Development Corporation have been met just halfway into the 10-year plan.
NTDC Chief Executive Officer Karina Dambergs said today the latest census data confirmed the region had already surpassed the target set in 2016 to create 8,000 jobs and increase average weekly wages by more than $100 a week by 2026.
“This is great news and strongly reinforces the benefits of collaboration between the seven member municipalities to bring about significant improvement in prosperity in the North and North-East Tasmania,” Ms Dambergs said.
“At present we have fallen short of our third target, to increase gross regional product by 50 per cent in 10 years, but we have now seen a bounce in growth after the national downturn caused by Covid and other world events,” she said.
Ms Dambergs said a key focus for NTDC and its members would be to lift exports from the region as well as to encourage government and other institutions to use more local products instead of imports to help achieve the regional growth target.
Ms Dambergs said among the strategies introduced to achieve the targets included the establishment of a regional collaboration framework that worked with more than 50 regional stakeholders to agree and advocate for regional priorities.
A business database was also established to clearly identify how many businesses there were in the region and their location so as to facilitate greater collaboration and better regional decision-making to attract further business and growth.
“In 2019, NTDC also launched the Northern Tasmanian Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) to help achieve the regional targets and as a commitment under the Launceston City Deal, with further goals set for 2031,” Ms Dambergs said.
The REDS strategy identified food and agriculture, manufacturing, health and education as likely key growth industries.
“These tools allow the NTDC and the member municipalities – the City of Launceston, Northern Midlands, Meander Valley, Flinders, Break O’Day, George Town and West Tamar – to set regional priorities for State and Federal government infrastructure projects,” Ms Dambergs said.
“This is increasingly important as, at the last federal election, the incoming Albanese Government made it clear that it wanted to focus on projects that benefit the whole region rather than individual areas,” she said.
The recently released ABS census data showed that since 2016, the number of people employed in the region had grown from 55,156 to 63,885. This represents an increase of 8,729.
This growth was largely driven by the Health Care and Social Assistance industry, which grew by 3,090 jobs in this period. Other key sectors contributing to this growth were construction (1,269 jobs), accommodation and food services (750 jobs), agriculture, forestry and fisheries (729 jobs), and education and training (563 jobs).
In the same period average weekly wages increased from $537 to $664 – an increase of $127 per week.
Since 2016, the Northern Tasmanian GRP has increased by 15 per cent to $9.46 billion in the year ending June 2021. Based on current forecasts, the region is on track to increase GRP by 33 per cent by 2026 and 43 per cent by 2031.
Ms Dambergs said if the region was to achieve higher growth it needed to address some key issues.
“The NTDC is aware many sectors were struggling to attract workers. We need to align skills to our key industries and opportunities as demonstrated in REDS by pressuring governments to implement appropriate migration and education and training policies to ensure we have the skilled workforce required to allow our industries to grow,” she said.
“As a region, we also need to consider other issues linked to attracting and retaining skilled workers in the region, including the provision of affordable housing, cost of living, wage parity and access to quality health care and education.
“NTDC is running a key project in this space, with a Residential Demand and Supply Study for all Northern Tasmanian councils, due for competition in December this year,” Ms Dambergs said.
Download the Media Release: NTDC Media Release North Benefits from Regional Approach 20221018
Explore the data: Northern Tasmania id Data
For further comment, contact:
Karina Dambergs, Chief Executive Officer
Office: 0400 338 410
Mobile: 0417 660 452