Human capital key for growth
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.”