High earners turn away from Gympie region
THE high end of town is slowly trickling out of Gympie with data revealing a small exodus of high earning residents and a surge of new residents earning below the average wage.
The Regional Australia Institute’s latest Big Movers report on regional Australia revealed from 2011-2016 the region’s population earning below the average weekly wage ($662) surged by 25 per cent.
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The biggest jump was in the $300-$499 weekly pay bracket, where the 820 residents who moved out of the region were offset by 1143 newcomers.
In comparison the number of people earning $650 or more each week dropped by 3 per cent.
The only growth here was in the $1500-$1999 range (a dozen more people moved into the region than left) and in the $3000-or-higher range (13 more newcomers).
The RAI’s report said this “churn at the lower end of the remuneration scale … are perhaps reflective of the higher proportion of older residents (i.e. retirees) moving into Gympie”.
Gympie Chamber of Commerce president Tony Goodman said the loss at the higher end of the wage scale was a concern.
And it was a problem governments could help solve.
“Government institutes have to come into the region,” Mr Goodman said.
“We’ve lost the private hospital … there certainly needs to be some sort of decentralisation into the regions.”
Attracting emerging industries like artificial intelligence or medicinal cannabis – which he said was exploring the region before COVID-19 struck because “Gympie had the land” – was another option on the table.
“The big factor – the bottom line – there’s got to be jobs for people to come to the regions,” Mr Goodman said.
“The whole idea of what we’re trying to do as a Chamber is to get industry to come here.
“We’re identifying sites at the moment.”
Indeed, the Chamber has instructed Terry Ryder from Hotspotting to go ahead with compiling a marketing document/report.
The purpose of the report is to attract outside investment to the region to create more jobs and reduce the high unemployment.
“He asked me to arrange a meeting with major stakeholders in the region, to come together on July 2, at 7.30am to 9.30am at Gunabul Restaurant to discuss and contribute to the document,” Mr Goodman said.
“Terry will be doing the bulk of research with his team, however he would like to hear from all who attend, re anything he may miss or could improve upon or add value to the report.”
This is an invitation only event due to social distancing requirements.
Twenty high profile leaders from the region will be attending.
This will be an opportunity to give Terry Feedback so he gets it right.