COLAC and district’s unemployment rate has dropped to a five-year low and Colac’s mayor says the future is bright, with more jobs growth to come.
Colac and district’s unemployment rate has fallen below the national average for the first time since 2010.
The latest Federal Government figures show Colac Otway Shire’s unemployment rate was 5.7 per cent in the June quarter, down from 7.1 per cent in the March quarter and a high of 7.8 per cent in September last year.
Australia’s unemployment rate was 6.1 per cent in June, which is the same as the figure for the March quarter. Victoria’s unemployment rate was 6.4 per cent in June, down from 6.5 per cent in March.
The last time Colac Otway Shire’s unemployment rate was below the national average was in December 2010, when Colac Otway’s unemployment was 4.5 per cent and the national figure was 5.2 per cent.
Colac Otway Shire mayor Frank Buchannan said the unemployment statistics were “great news”.
“Any number that puts our unemployment rate down is great. There’s still a huge amount of employment opportunities in Colac with some of our major employers upgrading next year, it’s just a fantastic opportunity to drive that number down further,” Cr Buchannan said.
Cr Buchannan said Colac Otway Shire Council’s Grow program aimed to “up skill” unemployed people to help them develop the necessary skills to get work.
“If the opportunity’s there we need to work very hard to help those employers fill those vacancies.
“We’ll try everything we can to make sure those people who can and want to work have the opportunity to get the skills they need to make themselves available for that employment,” Cr Buchannan said.
He said major developments such as the completion of the Princes Highway upgrade, a new Coles supermarket and Bunnings’ purchase of a Colac store would help Colac and district’s future employment status.
“There’s an enthusiasm around Colac and district, so we’re pretty happy with that, we’ve just got to capture it now,” Cr Buchannan said.
“It’s a very exciting time for us, that’s what the Prime Minister said, and we clearly sit in that space.
“If we’ve got all this technology that’s coming towards us, it means what we can offer is cheaper land, cheaper houses, better living environment and better place to work and live,” Cr Buchannan said.
Breaking the Colac Otway Shire down into smaller areas, the unemployment rate in the city of Colac has fallen from a high of 9.1 per cent in September last year, to 6.8 per cent in June this year.
Unemployment in the northern rural areas of Colac Otway has fallen from six per cent in September 2014 to 3.9 per cent in June 2015, and the rate fell 6.6 per cent to 4.9 per cent in the shire’s southern half.
Meanwhile, Corangamite Shire’s unemployment rate was 3.7 per cent in June, down from 4.6 per cent in March; and Surf Coast Shire’s rate was 3.8 per cent, down from 3.9 per cent.
MP welcomes jobless rate fall
Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson is “so excited about Colac’s potential” following a drop in the city’s unemployment rate.
Colac’s unemployment rate has dropped from 8.5 per cent in the March quarter to 6.8 per cent in June.
The figures are in the Federal Government’s Small Area Labour Markets Australia June Quarter 2015 Report.
The report also said the unemployment rate across Colac Otway Shire dropped from 7.1 per cent in the previous quarter to 5.7 per cent.
“These results are absolutely fantastic news for the Colac and district community,” Ms Henderson said.
“They demonstrate that our government’s delivery of major infrastructure projects such as the duplication of the Princes Highway helps to drive business investment, jobs growth and confidence.
“These figures also reflect the growth of large employers such as Australian Lamb Company, Bulla Dairy and AKD Softwoods as well as the success of agricultural sector as a driver of jobs growth and opportunity.
“While there is more work to be done, these latest figures demonstrate the growing confidence underpinning the growth of this wonderful region.”
Ms Henderson also visited Colac to attend a farmers’ seminar hosted by the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria and Australian Dairy Farmers on Monday night.
“There is deep concern about Labor’s attempts to derail our China Australia Free-Trade Agreement which is so important for jobs – for agriculture, small business and exporters,” Ms Henderson said.