Business owners sought for study


Business owners sought for study

With figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as part of the 2016 Census revealing that rural areas in the Orana region are in decline, Regional Development Australia (RDA) has compiled a study which aims to assess issues that a declining population has on employment.

“Although the Orana region has had a net gain of 2.6 per cent, this has been driven by the growth of the Mid-Western (7.9 per cent) and Dubbo (5.9 per cent) regions,” RDA Orana executive officer Megan Dixon explained, adding that all other Local Government Areas (LGAs)  have experienced population losses.

“Bourke has decreased the most with a decline of 8.2 per cent, followed by Bogan 7.2 per cent, Brewarrina 6.5 per cent, Walgett 5.4 per cent, Gilgandra 3 per cent, Coonamble 2.8 per cent, Warrumbungle and Narromine 2.1 per cent, Cobar 1.4 per cent and Warren 0.9 per cent.”

Such major reduction has the potential to have a large impact on these areas and the surrounding townships, with the primary sectors of mining, agriculture and retail all expected to be heavily affected.

“As more data is released, we will do a full analysis as this will obviously have huge implications for the issues of skills and labour in the region,” Mrs Dixon said.

The Regional Skills Outlook Unravelling the Skills of the Future for the Orana Region project will include developing a profile of each LGA including major employers and training providers in those areas.

Employers are also being targeted to seek information about their present and upcoming labour and skills requirements.

“Information will then be used to inform and shape projects and policies that support regional economic growth into the future.”

Data to be gathered will include details of the industry sector, service provision, local workforce and training challenges.

“The aim of the project is to examine the various aspects of business and trading in the Orana region.” That entails workforce demands, impediments to the business, present and future skills shortages, recruitment and retention, exports and innovations, and training and growth.

“We need to assess barriers, address labour issues and look at the skills of business owners.”

Mrs Dixon said the projected outcomes will be to develop and present policy responses to State and Federal Government on issues around labour and training.

“We intend to gauge the types of businesses that exist and industry numbers along with how they operate and what they contribute to the economy before giving that information to government with a view to better services in terms of employment, development and technology.”

Business owners are encouraged to participate in the survey.

To take the survey here: Unravelling the Skills of the Future for the Orana Region

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