The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Ararat at new record low


Latest Federal Government data has revealed Ararat’s unemployme­nt rate fell to a record low 3.1 percent during the June quarter of 2021.

The figures prompted a response from Ararat Rural City Council chief executive Tim Harrison, who congratula­ted Ararat district businesses and the community.

He said the figures reflected how the Ararat community came together and had shown confidence in the rural city despite the impact of COVID-19.

“This is an extraordin­ary result, proving that business investment, new planning approvals and population growth has created a strong and robust economy in Ararat,” he said.

“An unemployme­nt rate of 3.1 percent represents effective full employment, sitting more than two percent below the pre-pandemic rate of 5.2 percent in December 2019 and 4.4 percent below a 7.5 percent unemployme­nt rate just five years ago.

“The Commonweal­th employment data also mirrors the findings of the council’s businesses occupancy survey, with new businesses contributi­ng to an office and retail vacancy rate in the Ararat central business district of just 3.3 percent.”

Dr Harrison said the results were testament to a collective community effort ‘shifting up a gear’ in response to the pandemic.

“The work we have done to invest record levels of funding in capital works to improve local roads and community infrastruc­ture not only keeps people in jobs but has made Ararat more liveable, sustainabl­e and productive,” he said.

“With an accelerate­d shift to the regions underway created by the exodus of people escaping capital cities looking for jobs and a tree change, we are ready to offer them an enviable lifestyle, employment and freedom.

“In recent years, a partial market-failure situation driven by developmen­t costs that are close to achievable sale prices is the downside to low unemployme­nt for local industry that can’t secure a workforce to meet contract demand.

“These businesses need an in-migration of workers to continue expansion, with workers and their families needing housing.

“A booming local real-estate market, the council’s ‘red-carpet not red-tape approach’ to planning, and recent funding from the Victorian government to deliver trunk infrastruc­ture connection­s to the Ararat East Developmen­t Zone has begun to turn this situation around.

“Renewed market confidence is now leveraging financing and developmen­t investment in Ararat to get a number of housing projects underway.

“This includes the Evans Park Estate, Chalambar Links Estate, Greenhill Lake Developmen­t and infill developmen­t projects, which will make a major contributi­on to growing the critical mass of the Ararat population, setting us up for our prosperity to continue.”

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