South Gippsland has a thriving economy with over 7,000 businesses in manufacturing, farming, construction, retail, education and health and social services. Overall, they contribute to an annual output (RDP) of over $3 billion, including 10,000 jobs in 2016. The area is highly dependent on farming and agricultural food processing, which accounts for 33% of RDP. Experience suggests that when the farming community is doing well Main Street thrives.
Tourism contributes over $100 million to the local economy and supplies approximately 650 direct jobs (2016), which will increase as the sector further develops. Unlike many regions, overall tourism figures (pre-COVID) are increasing, and likely to grow with the limitation of global air travel in the next few years. The growth of the Garlic Festival, the Italian Fiesta, Lyrebird Music & Arts and the Tarwin heavy metal festival have also focused the attention of Melbourne on the district. There are major opportunities in the area for ecotourism, food and arts tourism and the increasing brand recognition of the agricultural district.
Questions that surround the topics of business and tourism include; is population growth necessary for increasing prosperity? At what point does growth and development become too much? What industries could and should be championed in the area? Do the benefits of tourism outweigh issues of conservation, and rising house and rental prices? And can economic growth be achieved at the same time as increasing economic democracy via workers’ co-ops and other forms of enterprise geared towards well paid and secure work?
Southern Gippsland spans Bunurong and Gunai-Kurnai country. We acknowledge that this land is unceded and pay respects to Elders past, present and emerging. A just transition is one that allows for First Nations sovereignty.
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