Hu­man cap­i­tal key for growth

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Emily Smith emily.smith@cnbtimes.com.au

FARM­ING and min­ing have long been the hall­mark in­dus­tries of re­gional Aus­tralia, but In­sti­tute for Re­silient Re­gions direc­tor John Cole thinks it is time to move on.

With a goal of 50% growth in re­gional ar­eas by 2044 re­vealed in the State Govern­ment’s Queens­land Plan last Thurs­day, Mr Cole said strength­en­ing our hu­man cap­i­tal could help pave the way to a more so­phis­ti­cated re­gional econ­omy.

“Of­ten we tend to think of the fu­ture of re­gional Aus­tralia as be­ing a farm and a mine but that is al­ways cu­ri­ous to me be­cause 85% of jobs are ser­vices,” he said.

“The nub of the is­sue is how do we make re­gional Aus­tralia an at­trac­tive place to live and work?”

With 25 full-time work­ers, Monto-based busi­ness DJ’s Steel and Con­crete might hold some an­swers to this cru­cial ques­tion.

Owner Damien Zi­eth said it was not so much about en­tic­ing city peo­ple to the bush, but giv­ing young peo­ple who grew up in the coun­try ca­reer op­tions so they stayed in the re­gion.

“Peo­ple want to stay around their fam­ily and friends, but they want a ca­reer they can progress with rather than just work­ing at a servo or some­thing like that,” he said.

“Sport is also great for keep­ing young peo­ple in the area.

“Nearly all our ap­pren­tices play in the Monto Roos footy team.

“That gives them some­thing to do when they’re not work­ing.”

By of­fer­ing a wide range of ap­pren­tice­ships in­clud­ing boil­er­mak­ing, fit­ting and car­pen­try, and hav­ing built a rep­u­ta­tion that brings work from across the re­gion, DJ’s can ac­com­mo­date a larger and more ver­sa­tile work­force.

“Redi­rect­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties from city (based firms) to re­gional ones all forms part of the big pic­ture for fu­ture growth in our area,” North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil Mayor Don Waugh said.

“Min­ing and farm­ing are crit­i­cal for our econ­omy, but we need to make sure other ser­vice jobs come from lo­cal busi­nesses, not city-based firms. We have to utilise all op­por­tu­ni­ties for our re­gion.”

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