How Darling Downs economy can be $3 billion better off
THE Toowoomba and the Darling Downs economy could be $3 billion better off by 2027 if it focuses on several key areas like agriculture, mining and tourism.
That's according to a new report from one of Australia's top economics firms, which outlined our region as one of the strongest in Queensland.
Deloitte Access Economics' Confidently Queensland paper, compiled and steered with the help of top representatives from a variety of industries, forecast strong economic growth for the Darling Downs as well as high liveability.
But economic lead partner Pradeep Philip said the prediction was only possible if business, government and communities took advantage of the region's strengths.
"What you have seen in the report is $3 billion more for the Darling Downs economy than we currently forecast," he said.
"We think that the economy is going to grow at about 3.5 per cent, but if we could grow the whole economy by one per cent higher, we generate more jobs and income, and the regions can benefit.
"We know we need to lift productivity in natural resources; we need move up the chain in agriculture and become more experiential in our tourism.
"As we become more productive and people know us to be more productive, we're going to become a bigger employer."
The report also featured results of Shaping Future Cities, a 6000-person survey, which explored why Queenslanders chose to live where they did.
Dr Philip said Toowoomba's low cost of living was a reason why people liked living here, as well as access to health care, climate and the natural environment.
"If you look at other areas in Melbourne and Sydney, they're becoming more unaffordable, so how do we attract the best to our regions?" he said.
"We need to show this is a great place to live and work - (if) our regional centres become much more productive, that means people don't need to go to the capital cities.
"You get a bigger workforce, you get the service provision right, and you're creating jobs."
The 17-member steering committee featured businessman John Wagner.
Dr Philip said the report was not designed to generate easy answers, but provide a conversation starter for the key pillars of Queensland's economy.
"We're not going to say if you do these three things in detail, it will happen," he said.
"Businesses and governments need to have discussions on their own about what they want to achieve.
"We need to get back to getting community, business and government together to develop the way forward to find some that is sustainable and preserves what matters most."