Economic group pushes for debate
BEGINNING this week and running for three weeks is a special series of articles on the Douglas economy drawn from the Chamber of Commerce’s recent economic development study.
Each week a short article will examine parts of the report, aiming to provoke thought in the community as we head rapidly towards the allimportant Shire elections on November 9.
The Douglas Chamber of Commerce is keen to promote a discussion in the community based on the centrality of tourism to the region.
The chamber feels it is necessary that the community fully understands the local economy in order to make sound decisions going forward.
It’s all about a community discussion, so please do write to the paper or post on our Facebook page any comments you want to make on this subject.
So, down to business - what makes the Douglas region tick?
The size of the Douglas economy at the start of 2013 was $605 million a year.
Of that, the tourism sector contributed a whopping $560 million.
The cane industry was next, at $35 million a year.
The other $10 million you can label ‘‘Other’’.
The dependency on tourism-related industries has exceeded 80 per cent of all economic activity in the region for some time. The current 2012-13 figures indicate tourism dependency is as high as 90 per cent.
There is an extraordinarily high dependency by service and ancillary industries (include trade contractors) on tourism related and cane related sectors.
Forecasts provided by Tourism Australia Estimates predict a further massive increase in the Australian and by extension Far North and Douglas region tourism industries by 2020.
Economic activity due to cane will double over the course of the next two years.
The significance of such a high dependence on two principal industries means the entire region needs to consider how it would be affected if there was a significant negative impact to either industry.
‘‘As a region, business and residents alike need to consider ways to bolster the tourism and cane industries and any support industries and thereby safeguard the Douglas lifestyle so attractive to guests and residents of the region,’’ says the chamber of commerce’s economic group.
The Douglas Economic Group (an initiative of the Douglas Chamber of Commerce and business stakeholders) was formed in 2012 to formulate a strategic response plan to the Melbourne Business School Report presented in 2012. The group has active input from the Douglas Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Port Douglas Daintree, Mackay Sugar and Julia Leu on behalf of the council. A core team of Martin Tranter, Gerry Ireland, Bob Brown, Frank Frikker and Sam Cullen devoted themselves to months of review of statistics and data which has culminated in the 2013 Douglas Strategy Report
‘‘Although we have a small population it does not mean that we should have limited goals. The group encourages readers to ensure council candidates over the next month keep the economy at the front and centre of future council consider- ations and provide feedback on ways to improve.’’
To obtain a copy of the 2013 Douglas Economic Strategy Report, please contact the chamber. The report is a snapshot of the current Douglas region economy. It benchmarks industry and regional competitors and maps change over the 15 years since 1998. It serves as the starting point for the Douglas region to self critically review its economic performance and to formulate and initiate steps to ensure the region does not just compete viably, but leads the greater FNQ region in the interaction industry and resident.
Next week’s review will compare the Douglas Regions regional government expenditure on Tourism Destination Management / Marketing compared to other competitors such as the Whitsunday, Gold Coast and Townsville.