Despite a drop in unemployment numbers in the region, calls are being made for more skilled workers to help with increased demand.
Between September 2017 and 2018, unemployment rates fell from six to 4.4 per cent in the Ararat Rural City and from 5.6 to 3.9 per cent in the Northern Grampians Shire.
Wannon MP Dan Tehan said the numbers are very positive to see.
“More Australians are now in work than ever before, and I’m very pleased we are seeing the benefits flowing in Wannon, with more local jobs,” he said.
“The Australian economy has gained momentum, but we must be wary of global headwinds and risks posed by taking a different approach.”
The continued growth of the Stawell Gold Mine, strong employers such as Frewstal and the prisons as well as projects such as Nectar Farms and Bulgana Green Power Hub have all contributed to the reduced unemployment rates.
“With plenty of infrastructure spending with multiple projects the outlook for Stawell is pretty positive at the moment,” StawellBiz president Nigel Keating said.
“A lot of the businesses are at full capacity which is really exciting.”
The state government has also welcomed the figures, highlighting an all time low of 4.3 per cent unemployment in regional Victoria.
“This is the lowest unemployment rate in regional Victoria since records began – and the results are clear, it means better lives for Victorians, families and for all rural and regional communities,” Victorian treasurer Tim Pallas said.
However Ripon MP Louise Staley said a reduction in the workforce in regional Victoria impacts those numbers.
“Far from a jobs boom in regional Victoria, we are seeing a drain on the regional workforce as more and more people travel or move for work,” she said.
“As locals leave town for work they take their buying power with them, and local businesses suffer.”
Grampians Tourism chief executive Marc Sleeman said an issue facing the region is a lack of skilled workers, with visitation numbers on the rise increasing pressure on businesses.
“From a visitor economy perspective we are still short on skilled labour around the Grampians region,” he said.
“Increased visitation puts pressure on businesses. We need to match growth in numbers with skilled labour.”
Mr Sleeman said his organisation is looking into ways they can address the issue.
“As numbers grow it is an area we will focus on more and more. We are currently doing some work with Visit Ballarat around a jobs audit,” he said.
“We have identified there is a need for us to upskill and provide local businesses with access to skilled staff.”
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