News | 19th Feb, 2013

Geelong’s boom pain

19 Feb 2013
Danny Lannen, The Geelong Advertiser

MINING'S boom has contributed to Geelong's manufacturing bust, according to latest analysis by the Australia Institute.

Senior economist Matt Grudnoff told a forum at Geelong West Town Hall last night the combination of a high Australian dollar and a drain on skilled workers was hitting Geelong industry.

The region's tourism had also taken a hit.

"The mining boom is transforming Australia. While it is creating some jobs in mining centres, the high dollar and the drain of skilled labour from other industries is devastating big employers like tourism, agriculture and manufacturing," Mr Grudnoff said.

"For cities like Geelong, that means the mining boom delivers a lot more pain than gain.

"High exchange rates make Australian cars, Australian food and Australian tourism destinations a lot more expensive in the world market.

"The problem is made even worse by the fact that the miners prefer to poach skilled staff from other industries rather than train their own."

Mr Grudnoff said while 82 new mining jobs had been secured in Geelong between 2006 and 2011, manufacturing jobs fell by more than 1100.

"It's particularly bad in Geelong," Mr Grudnoff said.

"It's across all of Australia and it's not just manufacturing, it's any industry that exports a lot or competes with imports…

…Environment Victoria campaigns director Mark Wakeham said the Australia Institute findings flew in the face of Victorian Government plans to expand coal mining and export.

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