Lo­cal un­em­ploy­ment rate is well be­low the na­tional av­er­age


YOU could be hard-pressed to find a job in Rochester with the lat­est Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics (ABS) fig­ures show­ing a lower than av­er­age un­em­ploy­ment rate.

Rochester is placed bet­ter than the na­tional av­er­age by 0.9 per­cent­age points in the most re­cent stats and Lock­ing­ton at 1.7 per­cent­age points be­low the av­er­age. This is de­spite the clos­ing of lo­cal in­dus­try Mur­ray Goul­burn ear­lier this year.

Lo­cal busi­ness own­ers at­tribute the strong fig­ures to the town’s re­silience and healthy in­dus­try in the dis­trict. Ma­jor’s IGA owner and Rochester Busi­ness Net­work mem­ber Brad Ma­jor said lo­cals had been re­source­ful in find­ing al­ter­na­tive em­ploy­ment de­spite many po­si­tions be­ing filled long term.

“We don’t have a high turnover of se­nior staff and a lot of our ju­niors start here when they are 14 or 15 be­fore they head off to uni,” he said.

“They’ll usu­ally come back in their hol­i­days for more work.”

Mr Ma­jor said he had no­ticed a slight spike in the numbers in the past year.

“We have a lot of peo­ple come in ask­ing for work,” he said. “In the last 12 months we’ve had more out-oftown peo­ple com­ing in and ask­ing.

“Usu­ally their part­ner has moved up here for work and they’re also look­ing around for a job.”

De­spite this, he said it wasn’t vi­able to ac­com­mo­date more staff as there isn’t a cur­rent need.

“There’s al­ways peo­ple ask­ing, but we gen­er­ally keep staff for as long as pos­si­ble as we’ve trained them for about three or so years,” he said.

For Rochester Car­a­van Park owner and op­er­a­tor Mick Hais­man, sea­sonal work­ers pro­vide his park and the town with a cash in­jec­tion over the sum­mer months.

“I have three main con­trac­tors who have work­ers avail­able. This time of year we prob­a­bly have about 25 stay­ing but in the sum­mer months it can get up to 80-100 peo­ple in town,” he said. “A lot of them don’t have cars and so stay in town, shop at the lo­cal shops and buy their gro­ceries here.”

Mr Hais­man said with such large numbers, he’s look­ing to ex­pand his ca­pac­ity at a new lo­ca­tion.

“Peo­ple in town are look­ing to at­tract more tourist dol­lars but re­ally we could be cap­i­tal­is­ing on some­thing that’s more long term — and al­ready hap­pen­ing in town,” he said.

“The year be­fore last we knocked back 80 or so work­ers be­cause we didn’t have the space.”

He said the itin­er­ant work­ers fill roles in fac­to­ries in the area dur­ing the sum­mer or work on farms.

“Some are look­ing for jobs in­doors so they’re not out in the sun all day, but the ma­jor­ity are at fac­to­ries,” he said.

“They (the work­ers) are good to have in town, a lot don’t drink and we haven’t had trou­ble with them.”

Statewide, the fig­ures are sim­i­lar with the state gov­ern­ment tout­ing its suc­cess of cre­at­ing 6,500 jobs in re­gional Vic­to­ria.

Four in five of those jobs cre­ated were full-time po­si­tions. Both Bendigo and Shep­par­ton recorded sig­nif­i­cant jobs growth, with 8.2 per cent and 6.1 per cent in­creases re­spec­tively and were the strong­est per­form­ing re­gions in Vic­to­ria.

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