AS QUEENSLAND suffers the blow of job losses brought about by COVID-19, the Murweh Shire could already be recovering and pioneering a new economic model based on tourism and industry.

Mayor Shaun ‘Zoro’ Radnedge said the council has discussed at length what strategies are needed to attract people to the shire.

He said Murweh doesn’t have the ‘industrial side’ due to the lifestyle and job market, but things could actually be picking up after the pandemic.

“Since COVID started, there seems to be a bit of a buzz around,” Cr Radnedge said.

“There is some jobs out there and yeah, we’re pretty happy that even in these trying times, people are still looking for people to fill these positions.”

While people have left the Murweh Shire, their vacant positions are being filled and people are coming in from across Queensland and Australia.

Cr Radnedge also said the new workers need more accommodation to stay in due to the demand for jobs.

And despite past predictions showing population decline between 2016 and 2041, with 794 residents expected to leave the shire in this time frame, Cr Radnedge thinks those predictions could be turned around after COVID.

“I think all their modelling they’ve done over that space, I think that’s about to be flipped on its head,” he said.

“I really think it’s going to be a chance for people to move to the region.”

One of the council’s main focuses is attracting people who have previously moved away from the Murweh Shire, as they are people who are already familiar with the lifestyle.

The Morven Freight Hub has also generated a lot of interest in the region, with Morven seeking more accommodation and housing to facilitate the increasing market.

“As it gets busier, it creates more economy and it creates more jobs,” Cr Radnedge said.

Where do the positions need to be filled?

According to Cr Radnedge, the biggest industry in the Murweh Shire is agriculture, followed by goatworks, which a single employer supplies 130 workers.

“The biggest problem we have in the regional areas is our youth between that 17-25 had to move away to get that experience and to achieve their goals.

“Now I think the pendulum’s about to swing to the regional areas.

He said many positions need to be filled in government jobd, as well as blue collar jobs.

RESQ regional manager Susan Bylett says there has been a struggle for employers to find people to fill their positions in Southwest Queensland, particularly in cleaning, bar staff, agriculture and tourism.

“We struggled to try fill positions for certain businesses out there, but it has started to increase now people are trying to take on positions, that’s a bit of a bonus,” she said.

“With the reduction of the jobseeker payment, people know full well that mutual obligations are coming back on.”

And while these industries are struggling to find workers, RESQ has assisted start-ups around Cunnamulla to fill the voids.

“There were three ladies in Cunnamulla who were interested in taking on a carpet cleaning business,” Mrs Bylett said.

“Not just carpet cleaning, they do furniture and chairs as well.”

Cunnamulla employers struggled to find employees to do essential cleaning services, so the new Indigenous owned and operated business is delivering these services.

RESQ has also started the Outback Queensland Jobs site to advertise positions in the southwest to help get the word out to jobseekers.

Charleville Western Times

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