Productivity (gross regional product per hour worked) in the regions also varied widely in the region. WA Pilbara Kimberley, a mining region, was well above the national average at $306 dollars per hour compared to the national average of $82 per hour. However, in eastern South Australia and Victoria’s Loddon Mallee, production fell to $59 per hour.
“There were 12 regions with productivity more than 10 percent above the national average, and some 34 regions with productivity more than 10 percent below the national average,” economist Dr Peter Brain, the report’s lead author, said.
The ALGA president, Mayor David O’Loughlin, believes the report shows the difference between the haves and the have-nots.
“While it shows that productivity has improved in some areas, it also demonstrates that coordinated and cooperative action is needed by all three levels of government to ensure our communities can thrive, especially those areas where growth has been sluggish,” said Mayor O’Loughlin.
Regions still suffer
Regional-wide, the non-mining areas did not receive the same boost as the mining communities. Much of this downside was farming and rural areas that have faced harsh environmental issues such as a nationwide drought.
“Much of NSW is again drought-affected. Despite indications that non-metropolitan Queensland is maintaining momentum, growth performance in the Brisbane metropolitan area seems lacklustre.”
“Apart from WA Pilbara Kimberley, declining productivity was reported from most of non-metropolitan Victoria and South Australia. Previous State of the Regions reports have observed that mining booms do nothing for rural prosperity, if only because they raise the exchange rate and therefore reduce Australian-dollar farm incomes.”
“On the downside, the gross regional product growth rate has subsided in Melbourne and the high preliminary rates estimated last year for some of the non-metropolitan Victorian regions also look like disappearing,” the report said.
“Industry mix would have had a lot to do with this distribution, with GRP per hour worked high in finance and mining and low in tourism-related industries, retail trade and various other services. Productivity can also be low in rural areas suffering drought and more generally in regions suffering from structural adjustment,” said Dr Peter Brain.