Developing Northern Australia – workforce multiplier

Australia’s far north attracts more than 22 million domestic and international overnight visitors each year. The tourism industry contributes $1.2 billion directly into the Queensland economy – 3.7% of the state’s gross state product (GSP) and $11.6 billion to the state’s economy (7.5%).

In a strategy to help regional economies fully leverage their unique strengths, the Australian Government is focusing is injecting $220 million to Regional Jobs and Investment Packages (RJIP). Tropical north Queensland is one of 10 pilot areas that will receive funding. $20 million will go into stimulating long-term growth, diversifying the local economy and driving sustainable employment.

Other locations that’ll receive funding include Bower Basin, NSW’s north and south coasts, Wide Bay Burnett, Goulburn Valley, Geelong, Regional Tasmania, Upper Spencer Gulf and Latrobe Valley.

Growing tourism demand in Tropical North Queensland, Cape York & Northern Australia

Queensland’s visitor economy is experiencing sustained growth in both domestic and international visitors and expenditure. China is Queensland’s fastest growing inbound tourism market as well as other Asian markets such as India, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

In June 2017, Cairns hosted the Developing Northern Australia. The conference focused on the region’s progress, growth and investment. Exploring key opportunities and challenges in developing the north, delegates from all over Australia participated in forums, networking, and collaborations.

Core topics covered at the conference:

  • Developing strategic links as the Gateway to Asia
  • Food and agribusiness
  • Forestry, resources and energy
  • Tourism and hospitality
  • Healthcare and medical research
  • Indigenous-led northern development
  • Infrastructure and workforce opportunities
  • International education
  • Land and water

Growth and investment needs a workforce to match! Was the topic for Workforce BluePrint’s presentation at #DEVNORTH with much interest and potential collaboration opportunities.

Australia’s leading tourism destination

From accommodation and hospitality workers to waiters, chefs and travel advisors, the tourism career paths up north are diverse. It’s been labelled as the ‘industry of industries’ – an industry of people providing services for other people. Recruitment and retention of an appropriately skilled workforce can be an issue, mainly due to the seasonal nature of the work.

Jobs Queensland have released their Queensland Tourism Workforce Plan (2017-2020). Four themes run through this plan. They are:

  1. Building the tourism industry profile & attractiveness (careers)
  2. Growing a sustainable labour pool (local workforce)
  3. Leveraging the industry’s capacity to grow & flourish (skills)
  4. Address local issues & develop innovative solutions (collaboration)

Key areas identified that will be implemented include strengthening industry pathways for students, and developing the Indigenous workforce. For businesses, they will need to increase their digital capabilities and connectivity.

A framework for economic growth and social development is also currently being prepared to help regions – like far north Australia to adapt to changing circumstances and facilitate development.

These communities stand the best chance of success when locals take a leadership role in planning their own development. No one knows the strengths and endowments of a region better than the people in it.

If you’d like to learn more about developing the workforce in Northern Australia or your region, please contact Wendy via

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