Coast edges up in employment
EMPLOYMENT opportunities potentially created by the Centro redevelopment in Hervey Bay or the Colton Mine project on the edge of Maryborough this year are likely to be snapped up.
While the tide appears to be turning – albeit slowly – the Fraser Coast unemployment rate remains above the national rate, according to December figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The ABS statistics for the region, which also incorporates the Wide Bay-Burnett, show an unemployment rate of 6.4 per cent compared with an Australian rate of 5.5 per cent for December.
The unemployment rate on the Fraser Coast fell from 6.8 per cent in November, and was down slightly from 6.5 per cent in December 2008.
It is still a far cry from the 4.6 per cent unemployment rate in December 2007 before the global financial crisis took hold.
The number of job seekers receiving assistance fell steadily in the latter part of 2009.
In Hervey Bay the numbers slid from 1779 to 1605 from August to November. In Maryborough they fell from 1295 to 1154 during the same period.
“We’re on our way with the economic recovery but it’s a little premature to see results roll into employment opportunities,” Lance Stone, president of Maryborough Chamber of Commerce, said.
“I don’t think there is a lot of confidence out there and I’m seeing a cautious approach being displayed by businesses.
“Maybe on a global scale it’s improving but at the coalface things are very tight.
“The needs of education and employment in Maryborough and on the Fraser Coast in general are a priority for the chamber this year and remain a grave concern.”
He identified the success or otherwise of Downer EDi Rail’s bid to secure the next Queensland Rail contract as crucial.
“If that was put through it would have a flow-on effect and increased job opportunities.”
The possibility of mining work beginning at Aldershot before the end of the year would have “a wonderful knock-on effect for employment”.