Hot spots point to industry growth

Callum HunterSouth Western Times

Four South West centres have been identified by the Regional Institute of Australia as national and State hotspots for industry growth.

According to the institute’s Regional Growth Prospects Report, Harvey is at the national forefront of advanced manufacturing while Bunbury and Capel were identified as driving regions in food processing with Dardanup named for tourism.

RAI co-chief executive Liz Ritchie said the report pinpointed regions across the country where jobs in these industries were important for local employment and where regional leaders should invest.

“By analysing jobs numbers, we can see where these specialised regions are located and we can also see which ones are performing above national and industry trends,” she said.

Two major businesses account for the majority of the 443 local advanced manufacturing jobs, the first being Cristal and the other being Simcoa Operations.

“We strive to provide local employment opportunities because we are and want to be part of the community,” Simcoa vice-president David Miles said.

Not only was Harvey identified at the forefront of advanced manufacturing, it was also named alongside Bunbury and Capel as a driving region for food processing, all of which showed job growth above the national industry trends.

Dardanup was named as a driving region for tourism, something Ferguson Valley Marketing chairman Phil Smith was all too happy about.

“The number of businesses that are opening for longer is increasing,” he said.

“There is a general awareness that the businesses that are open longer are getting busier so we’re having to employ more people.”

Dardanup shire president Mick Bennett was also thrilled with the news and said the region had been showing potential as a major tourism hub within the South West for the past 50 years.

“We need to make sure we take advantage of people’s positivity,” he said.

RAI co-chief executive Kim Houghton said the new research would enable policy makers and regional stakeholders to prioritise investment opportunities.

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