The Toowoomba Region recorded a 3.0% boost to its regional economy, which saw the Gross Regional Product (GRP) break the $11 billion mark for the first time in the year ended June 30, 2019, according to new data.

Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio today welcomed the latest figures based on industry and government data.

Mayor Antonio, who chairs Toowoomba Regional Council’s Economic Development committee, said the region’s diverse economy had pushed the region’s GRP to $11.56 billion* (for the year to June 30, 2019), up $340 million on the previous year. (*Based on an inflation adjustment.)

He said the region first passed the $10 billion GRP mark two years ago.

“The latest reported yearly figures equate to regional economic growth of 3.0% per annum. This far exceeds national economic growth (2.0%), state growth of -0.3% and a rise of 1.5% across regional Queensland for the year to June 30, 2019,” Mayor Antonio said.

“It is also pleasing to note that the figures show a continuing upward trend. Remarkably, our average growth over the past 10 years is more than 3.9% per year, which also exceeds the state average of 1.85%.

“Another particularly positive highlight is a 1.72% increase in local jobs to 85,249, up from 83,807 in the previous year.

“Mining remains our most productive industry, generating $1.59 billion in 2018/19, which was a notable $467 million increase, or 41% rise in output, compared with the previous year.

“Agriculture remains the other dominant industry by value-add, generating $832 million in 2018/19, which was a $33 million increase on the corresponding year.

“The health care and social assistance sector generated more than $1 billion in value-add in the past 12 months, an increase of $53 million on the past year. This sector also remains the region’s largest employer, with employment up by 15.9% on 2018.

“Based on these figures, mining also had the largest total international exports by industry after generating more than $1.26 billion in 2018/19. This represents more than 51% of the region’s total international exports.

“Mining ($2.43 billion or 31.7%), agriculture ($1.27 billion or 16.5%) and manufacturing ($1.2 billion or 15.6%) are the region’s dominant groups in total exports by industry.

“In combination, these three industries accounted for 63.8% of the total exports across all industries in the Toowoomba Region.”

The region’s solid economic growth over the past decade was faster than the state’s growth rate and faster than the population growth rate, which means the Toowoomba Region did not rely solely on population rises to boost economic growth.

Mayor Antonio said the details highlighted strong ongoing private investor confidence in the region’s economy.

“Our diverse regional economy, covering agricultural, health, education, manufacturing, retail and services sectors along with the growing transport, logistics and information communication areas, shows the importance of many different areas all contributing to strong economic output and employment opportunities,” Mayor Antonio said.

“Coupled with this diversity, the region also has one of the tightest labour markets in Queensland, with an unemployment rate of 5.0% compared with the Queensland average of 6.1% (6.5% seasonally adjusted for October) and the national unemployment rate of 5.1% (seasonally adjusted to 5.3% for October) for the June 2019 quarter.

“Our region’s total unemployment numbers fell from 4,687 for the March quarter 2019 to 4,107 in the June quarter 2019.

“This latest unemployment rate is our region’s lowest since the June quarter 2018 and remains lower than the Queensland and Australian seasonally adjusted unemployment rates.

“Our population is expected to increase by 45,000 people to reach 210,000 by 2031. This will mean the creation of an additional 32,000 jobs in the Toowoomba region by 2041, with 10,000 of those to be located in Toowoomba’s CBD.

“Water security will be an essential part of underpinning ongoing growth. Our current water sources are designed to cater for demand to 2049 and Council is planning to ensure we have reliable water for future generations.”

Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) CEO Ali Davenport said the latest data was good news for Toowoomba.

“Given that we’re in the worst drought in history and that agriculture is a large part of our GRP, these results go to prove how diverse and resilient our economy is,” Ms Davenport said.

“These figures prove yet again that companies looking to invest in a regional area should look at Toowoomba due to its consistent results and diverse economy.

“Toowoomba has had stable growth of more than double the Queensland average over 10 years and a lot of this has come from private sector investment.”

Caption: Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio (centre), TSBE CEO Ali Davenport and Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce president Harrison Humphries outline the Toowoomba Region’s latest Gross Regional Product data.

(data compiled by .id consulting Pty Ltd - Source: National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) ©2019 and other sources)