ECONOMY: Bernard Salt with panel members for this year's Hinkler Innovation Series Breakfast.
ECONOMY: Bernard Salt with panel members for this year's Hinkler Innovation Series Breakfast. contributed

Demographer details positive outlook for region

BUNDABERG is poised for an exciting era of growth and opportunity.

Presenting the 2018 economic scorecard to about 200 local business representatives at the Hinkler Innovation Series breakfast yesterday, Mayor Jack Dempsey said the outlook was more positive than it had been in decades.

The scorecard showed positive results in areas including population growth, investment, property, visitation and jobs growth.

Gross regional product rose 3.1 per cent to $4.1 billion, exceeding the national growth rate of 2.9 per cent.

Bundy's jobs growth also experienced a boost, with an 11.4 per cent increase, or 3200 new positions since 2011.

Special guest, demographer Bernard Salt said despite high unemployment levels, he could see the community's drive to get ahead.

"I think one of the great challenges here is in fact skills, training and engagement,” Mr Salt said.

Bundaberg's unemployment rate sits at 9.6 per cent, above the state average of 6.2 per cent.

Mr Salt said Bundaberg's housing market was a strong draw-card for people seeking relatively affordable property.

"You can buy a house and land for a price point that begins with the number 3 and you can't do that in any number of cities in a similar or larger scale ... in many ways it is a bit of a well kept secret.”

Gross rental yield for houses grew 5.4 per cent and the median house price of $287,500 grew 2.7 per cent in the 12 months to June 2018.

Cr Dempsey said major planned projects such as the flood action plan, Burnett Heads marina, property developments and a new hospital would keep the region moving forward.

"Whilst Bundaberg is doing it tough in relation to unemployment, the opportunities and the oceans of chance are there for the community,” Cr Dempsey said.

"We are only second behind Townsville for real job creation, and it shows the liveability of being able to get a house here in Bundaberg compared to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.”