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How the Great South Coast Influences the World

It was amazing to learn how our little nook – the great south coast – makes a significant impact on the world economy. From wool to milk, wood to manufacturing, the region excels, despite lacking the infrastructure and population growth seen in the capital and regional cities.

Sarah Brebner, the manager of regional economic policy at Regional Development Victoria, explained the trends and events that shaped the global economy and how it influences life at a regional, state and federal level. It was interesting to learn how globalisation and the rise of the Asian middle class can affect business at a local level. Some believe the Chinese middle class could grow to 550 million by 2022, meaning a lot of people can travel to Australia and inject money into the economy. However, how we capitalise on that influx is still unknown.

It is believed that technology could contribute around $140-$250 billion to the GDP, but a lack of infrastructure and investment means the Great South Coast could miss on a slice of the pie. We learned that digital connectivity is integral to regional growth, and Western Victoria ranks lower than Regional Victoria.

Not surprisingly, Great South Coast is also seeing an uneven distribution of population growth. Fortunately, our aging population could prop up the population growth in the short time, given that the amount of 80-year-olds and above will triple by 2050. With an aging population, the economy is moving to a service focus, with healthcare, construction and manufacturing earmarked for growth, and in the past five years, the Great South Coast added more jobs than the statewide trend.

Food production will need to increase globally by 60% by 2030, so our food and fibre businesses will see a significant boom in the next decade. With labour market challenges, such as new technologies, and increase in globalisation and a demographic change, industries and cities will need to evolve or fall behind in the global economic battle.

Fortunately, our diary industry is showing plenty of fortitude when it comes to global pressure. Dairy Australia senior industry analyst John Droppert didn’t bring any milk to share, but he did show us some cold, hard facts.
More than two billion litres of milk is produces in western Victoria, worth $192 billion. Global trends, climate changes and the Japanese’s love of cheese on their pizza all influence the exportation of milk products, giving dairy producers plenty to think about. Locally, artesian products and the elimination of the dollar-milk market are stabilising markets domestically.

The learning left the classroom in the afternoon to take in a tour of Solaris Farms in Allansford, thanks to farm manager Brendan Rea and Rowan Ault, a field service manager at Saputo. What better way to learn than from a fifth-generation dairy producer? Brendan took the participants through the dairy to see how an 800-head farm produces milk on a large scale. Despite the cold weather, there were plenty of smiles on display thanks to the hands-on learning experience.

Ben Fraser – 2019 LGSC Participant

Thank you to our Speakers, Sarah Brebner, John Droppert, Lauren Peterson, Brendan Rae and Rowan Ault

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