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Area's economy set to transform

By Brendan Wong
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Substantial investment in new infrastructure and development projects is transforming the Whitsunday region’s economy, according to a new report by Broad Property Research and Advisory.

The report found that $37 billion worth of projects that were under way or proposed were moving the region away from its traditional reliance on tourism, which only accounted for $90 million.

Author Paul Broad said the area’s changing economic complexion would place it on a firmer footing.  

"Whilst $90 million in proposed tourism-related investment is to be welcomed, it is evident that resource and infrastructure development is set to overtake tourism as the economic driver of the Whitsunday region,” he said.

He added that a broader industry would help the Whitsundays survive cyclical downturns in any one particular industry sector.

“Tourism will become ‘the icing on the cake’, rather than the cake itself,” he said.

It is predicted that there will also be a boost in the population, with numbers tipped to rise from 36,000 permanent residents to 55,000 by 2031.

Mr Broad said he expected the population growth to be even higher than this if some of the workers of the mining and infrastructure projects became permanent residents.

The economic shift and population surge would enrich the region’s demographic profile.

“Employees in the resource and development sectors are more highly skilled than the workforce in general, and hence earn higher incomes,” he said.

“By attracting more of these high-earning households, more money will flow through the local economy and generate even more jobs in service industries."

This would have positive knock-on effects for the local real estate sector, Mr Broad continued.

“The higher wages of skilled-worker families increases the median household income of an area, and research suggests that property prices increase in proportion to the increase in median household income,” he explained.

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