Eco­nomic group pushes for de­bate

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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