City set for a growth spurt: report
Wednesday, 22nd February, 2017
By Daniel Stringer
A study by Regional Development Australia Far West shows that Broken Hill could be set to experience a period of growth over the next five to 10 years.
Last year RDA undertook a Workforce Development Study for Far Western NSW. As part of the study almost 100 employers were asked questions about a broad range of topics affecting their businesses, with RDA using the responses to develop a report.
The research indicated a number of opportunities but also identified the key challenges and barriers facing the workforce.
One of the biggest positives to come out of the study was that half of the businesses surveyed said they had plans to grow in the next two years, while 27 per cent said they had a five-year plan.
Chairman of RDA Far West, Dave Gallagher, said this was a very good sign.
“I think it is fantastic for Broken Hill and the Far West that people are looking to grow their businesses and I think it shows great faith in the future of the region,” Mr Gallagher said.
“Broken Hill in particular is a very happening place and there are opportunities out there for people who are willing to take them.”
Accommodation and Food Services were shown to be the largest employer, generating 1,222 jobs in 2014/15, followed by health care, social assistance and retail.
Mining dominated the region’s exports, accounting for over 73 per cent of the total in that period. Mining was also the biggest contributor to the economy, accounting for close to 40 per cent of the total value.
The study also revealed some of the big challenges facing businesses. A third of employers reported that they had been unable to fill positions in the past 12 months. On top of that, 42 per cent also reported filling a position with an applicant that didn’t fully meet the requirements of the position.
Tour Guides, solicitors, management positions and customer service proved to be the most difficult jobs to fill, while lack of services, poor quality broadband, and location were deemed the main reasons for unfilled positions.
It isn’t just gaining staff that is proving difficult, but also retaining staff. More than 30 per cent of the businesses reported this problem, with family reasons, limited opportunities and retirement identified as the major reasons for high turnover.
But Mr Gallagher said that through a partnership with RDA the region’s businesses can work to overcome these barriers.
“The report does show there are some barriers facing employers, but I don’t like the term barriers because it implies that there is no way out.
“I am sure that by working with RDA those barriers will be removed and we will be able to work through them to help businesses continue to grow.”
RDA will now use the information gathered from the report to develop plans to help ensure the region meets the demands.
Overall Mr Gallagher said the study showed that the future was bright and that with a little help it will prosper.
“We have a lot of new businesses starting up in the area and that is a very positive sign for the future.
“By working with businesses both new and old we can help grow our region and ensure that it continues to prosper well into the future.”