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A city on the move

Saturday, 3rd December, 2011

By Paula Doran

 Broken Hill is slowly regaining economic momentum after the global financial crisis (GFC), fuelled largely by a strengthening mining sector.

That’s according to the annual development update for the region, funded by Regional Development Australia (RDA) Far West NSW and the BH City Council (BHCC).

The report was released this week and compares the city’s growth and prosperity favourably to a base report compiled in 2006.   

For the period 2010-11 it cites a progressive recovery from a nationwide slowdown recorded in 2008-09, which badly affected local mining operations.

In the latest update the city gets a generally positive report card on economic growth, based on major mining projects including the Rasp Mine, Perilya’s Potosi development and the commissioning of Uranium One’s Honeymoon mine.

The unemployment rate has also improved, sitting at 8.5 per cent in the June quarter of 2011, compared to 9.1 per cent in the previous reporting year.

Demand for housing also recorded a strong growth for the year, with the median house price in the June quarter at $134,000 compared to $121,000 in 2010.

Tourism, according to the update, is on the improve, with the sector mentioned as a key driver of the far west economy.  

In the year ending June 2011 there were an estimated 435,000 domestic overnight visitors to outback NSW, down by 0.9 per cent on the previous year.

Income from tourists though was up, with an estimated $199 million brought into the economy by overnight domestic visitors - a 12.3 per cent increase on the last report.

The Broken Hill airport also saw a rise, with a reported 63,098 passengers in 2010-11, up on the previous year by 4.5 per cent.

Chairman of the RDA for Far West NSW, Darriea Turley, welcomed news of a post GFC recovery.   

“Mining in the region is returning to pre-GFC scenarios and this is good news for companies and job seekers,” she said. 

Ms Turley said the forecast for the biggest growth sector for jobs was the retail trade sector, which could expect an annual growth of one per cent until 2021.

Mayor Wincen Cuy said he was optimistic for the mining and tourism sector, with an expected 300 new jobs to spring from major projects in the next 12 months.

“Coupled with strong demand for residential housing, there are good signs confirming our economic resilience through a very tough few years in 2009 and again in 2010.  

“It seems that 2011 was a year of economic repositioning and consolidation and if all goes well according to projections, the next few years will remain periods of economic performance,” Mayor Cuy said.

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