A new report analysing regions across Australia has identified which areas are seeing improvements in local economies.
According to the 22nd edition of the State of the Regions 2019–20: Population, productivity and purchasing power from the National Economics for the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), southern Western Australia and Tasmania are undergoing a better than expected improvement in their local economies.
The improvements, measured by gross regional product growth rate, were seen for a number of reasons: southern Western Australia’s success, which was labeled a “sustained recovery”, was due to good seasons and overflow from”; Tasmania’s success was due to tourism recovering and the attention by mainland Australians towards Tasmanian real estate.
Other improving areas include the Gippsland area in Victoria, NSW’s South Coast, Coastal Hunter and the Central Coast, Lingiari in the Northern Territory, far north and western South Australia and around Townsville.
However, Melbourne and select regional areas, NSW areas affected by drought and metropolitan Brisbane are all seeing growth in gross regional product perform not as well in comparison to those that improved.
The regions that saw improvement in productivity over the national average were outnumbered by those that underperformed, according to the report’s lead author and economist, Dr Peter Brain.
“There were 12 regions with productivity more than 10 per cent above the national average, and some 34 regions with productivity more than 10 per cent below the national average,” Dr Brain said.
“Industry mix would have had a lot to do with this distribution, with GRP per hour worked high in finance and mining and low in tourism-related industries, retail trade and various other services. Productivity can also be low in rural areas suffering drought and more generally in regions suffering from structural adjustment.
“Apart from WA Pilbara Kimberley, declining productivity was reported from most of non-metropolitan Victoria and South Australia. Previous State of the Regions reports have observed that mining booms do nothing for rural prosperity, if only because they raise the exchange rate and therefore reduce Australian dollar farm incomes.”