Steady growth for Southern Downs

THE Southern Downs regional economy has steadily steamed ahead according to the latest economic data for the Southern Downs.

Mayor Ron Bellingham said he was pleased to receive positive proof of the region’s growth during the past 12 months.

“I am always hearing from residents as I move around the area how things have been picking up,” he said. “Now it’s good to see it actually proven in black and white.”

SDRC acting economic development manager John Randall said overall the Southern Downs had grown stronger economically, adding 6.9 per cent to the Gross Regional Product, which shows production now at more than $1.4 billion per year.

“This means we are employing more people; up in 2009 by almost 700 extra workers compared to the 2008 figures,” Mr Randall said.

“Our population continues to grow, up 1.5 per cent to an estimated 34,621 persons. We now estimate that our region will have nearly 44,000 persons within the next 21 years.”

Mr Randall stressed while population growth for the Southern Downs was below the Queensland growth figure of 2.3 per cent, the growth rate of 1.5 per cent for the Southern Downs was considered steady and sustainable.

“We are not a boom or bust economy,” he said.

Interestingly, the briefs show for the first time, the manufacturing sector has outgrown the agricultural sector.

The Southern Downs has traditionally been a primary production area, but it is now manufacturing which is number one.



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