Home' Border Enterprise : Summer-Autumn 2011-2012 Contents 11
Vol 5. Summer/Autumn
IT SEEMS silly, but more people work
in shops in Albury-Wodonga than help
This doesn't seem the right balance
for a regional centre hoping to have a
A decade ago the boot was on the other foot,
but clearly manufacturing has fallen back in the
But the big Centro shopping centres have
expanded and new plazas are springing up.
How do we know that shops selling goods
employ more people than firms producing
At the 2001 census, manufacturing was just
ahead of retail (16.9 to 16.3 per cent) in the
Albury-Wodonga statistical district that includes
Jindera and Beechworth.
A university survey in 2003 surveyed 23,830
local workers and found that 4856 (20.4 per
cent) worked in manufacturing and 3384 in
retail (14.2 per cent).
The discrepancy probably comes from the
university survey being a sample rather than an
Latest statistics indicate that by July 2010
the gap between manufacturing and retail had
Retail employed 6731 across the two
cities, to manufacturing's 5687, according to
REMPLAN economic modelling software used
by Albury Council's economic development
The contrast is even more startling in
Albury, 4245 people in retail against 2859 in
Sceptical journalists don't rely too much on
sample surveys and computer modelling.
But we all know that some larger players such
as DSI Systems, Macquarie Textile Solutions,
Mars Petcare and Norske Skog don't employ
as many as they used to and we lost some,
such as Moore Paragon.
It's true that Albury-Wodonga has a diverse
job market that saved it during the global
financial crisis, though unemployment is still
around 6 or 7 per cent.
Fortunately some key manufacturers such as
Wilson Transformer Company have contracts
worth hundreds of millions of dollars and Wilson
recently expanded to 275 employees.
Other engineering firms such as Macfab have
secured orders far and wide and are expanding,
while the Albury-based Joss Group's recent
cleaning contract means it will employ 1800
Albury-Wodonga is especially lucky to have
two big federal employers in the taxation and
defence departments, 800 in tax and more
than 1000 in defence, plus 500 for defence
contractor BAE Systems.
There's been a huge increase in health staff
since 2000, in both public and private sectors.
Albury Wodonga Health alone employs 1500
full-time and part-time people and there are
reckoned to be over 4700 people working in the
total health sector, including doctors' surgeries,
the Mercy and private hospitals.
Health is now the third-largest job sector in
Albury-Wodonga, well ahead of education's
Albury Council employs 466 equivalent
full-time staff and Wodonga more than 200,
though actual numbers in the latter exceed 300
because many are part-time.
All these big guys generate work for other
businesses in the supply of goods and services.
The lesson from the trends mentioned is that
the two cities must attract more manufacturing
firms and nurture those who may be struggling
to maintain numbers.
The Albury Airport industrial estate has
allowed several locals to expand but the cities'
future growth depends on persuading more
players, large and small, to establish on the
Border - another Visy factory, perhaps.
It's not enough to convince people to live on
Unless they are retirees, they need paid jobs.
-- Howard Jones
a tale of two cities
More people are employed
in retail on the Border than in
manufacturing --- a reversal from
a decade ago.
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