City of Greater Geelong Mayor, Cr Bruce Harwood, said key economic indicators show that the Geelong Region economy has experienced another year of solid economic growth.
Cr Harwood was commenting on the release of the latest Economic Indicators Bulletin prepared by the City's Economic Development Unit.
"Investors continue to display strong confidence in the Geelong Region with an unprecedented $310.7m worth of non-residential building activity generated over the past year".
"The latest indicators reaffirm the growing strength of the region's economy and its appeal to investors" Cr Harwood said.
Councillor Shane Dowling, who holds Council's portfolio for Economic and Strategic Development, and Finance, said that whilst the City was in the best condition it had been in for some time, the economy was none-the-less in transition from one that had a traditionally high reliance on manufacturing as a source of employment and wealth to one where knowledge and services were becoming strong contributors to growth. This transition needed to be strategically managed by working closely with the manufacturing sector.
Cr Harwood said highlights of the 2006/2007 Bulletin included:
� 2006 Census data shows that the population of the Barwon Region grew by 16,102 people between 2001 and 2006, bringing the total regional population to 259,052 residents. This represents a growth rate of 1.29% per annum.
� Unemployment indicators show a strong regional labour market. The official ABS unemployment rate for the Barwon Western Region was 4.0 per cent in June 2007. In 2006/2007 the average number of weekly job vacancies increased to 220 vacancies per week. Centrelink allowances for unemployment decreased by 5.8%.
� Median house prices increased across all municipalities in the Region.
� The total value of building activity in the Region reached $752.6 million.
� $441.9 million worth of residential dwelling construction was undertaken in the Region, down 1.0% on last year. More conservative residential development rates were experienced across Victoria as a whole.
� The value of non-residential building activity reached an all time high of $310.7 million, an increase of 0.8 per cent.
� The value of retail construction reached $72.998 million, an increase of $46 million on last year's figure
� The 2006 Census shows a total of 122,047 dwellings in the Barwon Region. Each dwelling on average is occupied by 2.59 persons, slightly lower than the State and National average.
� 21,903 homes in the Region are unoccupied. The majority of these unoccupied dwellings (76%) are located in a coastal area where they are typically used as holiday homes.
� 11.4 million tonnes of trade passed through the Port of Geelong an increase of 1.8% on the previous year.
� The population of the Region on a peak holiday night (Christmas/New Year) over the past year increased by an estimated 184,000 additional people.
� The 2006 Census shows median household income across the Barwon Region was $901 per week, slightly lower than the comparative figure for Australia ($1,027), Victoria ($1,022) and Melbourne ($1,079).
Cr Harwood highlighted the significant investor interest in the Region over the past year.
This includes projects which received the initial go ahead such as,
� The development of a $64m water recycling plant near Shell's Geelong Refinery.
� The construction of a new $30 million medical centre adjacent the Geelong Private Hospital and a $16.5 million expansion of the St John of God Hospital.
� The $20 million redevelopment of the Western Heights Secondary School.
Construction work commenced on a number of major projects including,
� The $150 million redevelopment of Westfield Bay City Shopping Centre.
� The $100 million construction of the Transport Accident Commission's headquarters.
� The $50 million construction of the Edgewater Apartments along waterfront Geelong.