JOBS at the Logic industrial hub will double to 2000 in the next three to five years, Wodonga’s mayor predicts.
Anna Speedie highlighted the value of the Barnawartha North estate to business leaders at a mayoral forum in Melbourne this week.
“(There are a) thousand jobs out there currently,” Cr Speedie said.
“I would anticipate that will double in the next three to five years.
“It certainly gives us long term, credible, sustainable growth for our jobs market.”
The site, which is home to a Woolworths distribution centre and transport businesses, had required courage to create, Cr Speedie said.
“Some pretty brave councillors back in 2002 took a long term vision and said ‘what’s Wodonga good at, what’s our competitive advantage?” she said.
“We have a fantastic strength in terms of our location, council invested its community’s money in a facility that is now, only now, 15 years on become recognised for what it is, which is a national logistics hub.”
Cr Speedie’s comments were made as part of her address to an event described as Reinventing the Regions hosted by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.
The mayor of nearly two years was joined on a panel by fellow country civic leaders Samantha McIntosh (Ballarat), Margaret O'Rourke (Greater Bendigo) and Kellie O'Callaghan (Latrobe).
During question time, Cr Speedie pointed to the impact of rate capping on demands for council services in regional cities such as Wodonga.
“What we’re seeing is our smaller rural counterparts are shedding some of those services, so you’re getting more pressures on your regional cities,” she said.
“People are turning to the larger facilities to be able to come in, particularly for specialist stuff, even just for a GP.
“Our library for example, 30 per cent of all the users are from outside the shire because the smaller, rural sector is actually shrinking and having to pull back just to be able to pay for their roads.
“So those other services are being propped up by regional centres.
“It’s going to be an ongoing challenge for how we face that, particularly with some of the ageing and particularly as you see shifts off farms.”
Cr Speedie also told the audience Wodonga had gone from having the lowest median wage of Victoria’s regional cities to the highest.
It certainly gives us long term, credible, sustainable growth for our jobs market.