Surprise fix to region’s 16% jobless rate in new report
WEED control and habitat repair are being heralded as a key to Gympie's post-COVID recovery as the region stares down the barrel at a 16 per cent unemployment rate.
A new report, commissioned by groups including the Conservation Council of South Australia and the Pew Charitable Trust, says conservation and land management could offset the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic.
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The Gympie-Cooloola region is expected to take a 7 per cent hit to its jobless rate.
This would put the region's unemployment level at a shocking 16 per cent.
Young workers are likely to be the worst affected.
However, the region would still be better off than its neighbours; Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Bundaberg are all predicted to have 17 per cent or higher unemployment.
Invasive plant control, restoring native habitat and helping landowners with property planning are among the jobs proposed to help drive Gympie's recovery.
Indigenous land management and working to curtail long-term threats like fire are on the list, too.
"These communities have been hard hit by COVID-19 restrictions and are likely to experience lasting economic impacts due to continuing restrictions on international travel," the report said.
It calls for $150 million Federal Government help, $100 million from the State and another $50 in co-investment from delivery partners including the Burnett-Mary Regional Group.
This "would deliver 1800 full-time equivalent positions over four years", the report says
And it would "create more than $680 million in long term economic benefits for local communities and the regional economy".