Griffith and the Western Riverina economy – driven by agriculture and food manufacturing
The Western Riverina region, centred on Griffith, in south-west NSW, previously subscribed to economy.id, enabling them to track the progress of their local economy over time, and understand the characteristics of the workers in each industry. What can we learn about their economy?
It shows that the region, with a population of just under 50,000 is an Agricultural powerhouse, with agriculture and food processing manufacturing industries making up the lion’s share of the $1.9 billion regional economy.
The Western Riverina region comprises 5 councils, forming the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. The councils are the City of Griffith, which makes up about half the population, and the Shires of Leeton, Narrandera, Murrumbidgee and Carrathool. This area functions as a regional economy, and the councils make economic decisions as a group, known collectively as the Western Riverina or the Irrigation Basin.
So what does the economic profile show about the Western Riverina region?
- The total size of the economy (Gross Regional Product) is about $1.9 billion in 2010. This figure is updated annually in November.
- The largest industries in terms of dollar value added are Agriculture ($277 million) and Manufacturing ($281 million), which is mostly agriculture-related manufacturing such as food processing ($131 million) and beverage manufacturing ($91 million).
- Food processing industries such as Sunrice and wine production fall into this category, and provide employment for about 2,000 people.
- In the 5 years ended 2010, there was substantial growth in the finance and road transport sectors, indicating that Griffith’s plan to become a regional transport hub is having an effect.
- Census data shows that workers in the region work longer hours than the NSW average, with 22% working more than 49 hours a week in 2006.
- The agriculture and manufacturing industries are heavily male-dominated, while education and health-care are female dominated.
- There are over 5,500 Full-Time Equivalent agriculture jobs in the region.
- The workforce overall is ageing, with increases to 2006 mainly among those aged 45+
- In the 2005-06 Agricultural Census, the Western Riverina region had a total of $876 million in agricultural commodity production.
- This included the largest output in NSW of oranges ($69m, 60% of NSW), rice ($120m, 44% of NSW) and wine grapes ($109 million, 51% of NSW) – the Western Riverina region is the largest wine producing region in NSW and the second-largest in Australia.
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