Economic growth & workforce opportunities in World Heritage listed regions

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World heritage regions play a key role in adding both economic and workforce opportunities, particularly through tourism.  In some regions, tourism generates up to 93% of the regions’ employment.

Let’s take the Great Barrier Reef, for example.

The Great Barrier Reef

Considered to be the richest area in the world in terms of animal diversity, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the best-managed marine ecosystems in the world.  The Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan was created to ensure it remains a natural wonder for successive generations.  It starts with an investment project of more than $A2 billion over the next decade.

This funding will go towards:

  • Research and management activities on the reef
  • Improving water quality initiatives
  • Helping business transition to better environmental practices in primary production and fishing industries

This, of course, leads to more jobs. The Reef provides research opportunities for scientists from Australia and around the world.  It’s probably the best-studied tropical marine system in the world.  Scientific research is essential to understanding the functioning, health and resilience of the Reef ecosystem and to improving its protection and management.

Tourism, fishing, boating and shipping are also popular industries in the Marine Park.

The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority studied the regions economic contribution to the Australian economy.

The study concluded a $7 billion contribution and 69,000 full-time jobs, in 2012.  A high proportion of these figures are due to tourism activity, with almost $5.2 billion and 64,000 full-time employees generated through tourism.  Tourism accounts for 91-93% of the region’s value-added and employment contributions to Australia respectively.

Tourism activity covers both trip-related expenditure for fishing, boating, sailing and visiting islands and household expenditure on recreational equipment.

The Environment Minister, Mark Butler believes that while the Reef is one of our most important environmental assets, it also has valuable economic opportunities for the region.

“The Reef is also one of our most valuable environmental and tourism assets. The Reef’s natural beauty attracts around 2 million visitors every year, generating more than $6 billion in revenue for our economy and supporting 120,000 Australian jobs – jobs that depend on the future health of the Reef.”

Broken Hill

The outback community of Broken Hill is another world heritage site buzzing with economic and workforce opportunities.  Boasting a thriving mining and service industry, the region welcomes over 300,000 tourists every year, and represents $1.34 billion Gross Regional Product (GRP) – 0.3% of the state’s GRP.

The opportunities for businesses and employment are excellent.  The growing population also means that the region requires skilled tradesman and service industry workers.

The region’s council is eager to discuss new business development opportunities, investment and incentives.  Adopting the City’s Strategic Tourism plan was part of the Council’s commitment towards sustainable management, and developing and marketing of tourism in Broken Hill over the next decade.

Experiences will be targeted towards mining, heritage, film, art and culture and offer specific experiences for individual markets.  And progress so far has seen an upgrade the airport (with competitive flight prices) improving bike paths, developing roads and encouraging the rail experience.

The policy aims to provide incentives and support to:

  • An existing business, located within the City, to expand it’s operations
  • An existing business, located outside the City, to relocate or establish within the City
  • A new business to establish within the City.

With the expectation that the business will directly or, in some agreed circumstances, indirectly provide increased employment opportunities for residents of Broken Hill.

The major difference between jobs held by the workforce in Broken Hill than other regions in NSW were:

  • larger percentage of people are employed as Community and Personal Service Workers (14.5% compared to 9.6%)
  • larger percentage of people are employed as Machinery Operators And Drivers (9.8% compared to 6.3%)
  • smaller percentage of people are employed as Professionals (16.8% compared to 23.0%)
  • smaller percentage of people are employed as Managers (10.5% compared to 13.5%)

Bid for Mount Lofty Ranges “World Heritage” title

Adelaide’s Mount Lofty Ranges is bidding for a World Heritage listing of the region.  The unique landscape of the Adelaide Hills, the Barossa Valley, Mount Barker and McLaren Vale would be protected as a working agricultural region.  The region’s food, wine and tourism industries could be globally branded accordingly.

South Australia’s Mount Lofty Ranges world heritage bid could boost the economy, create jobs and invigorate the state’s tourism sector, according to visiting UK expert James Rebanks.

Project Manager for the Mount Lofty Ranges world heritage bid, Stephanie Johnston, says, if successful, the bid would protect and promote globally up to 150,000 hectares of the area from the Fleurieu Peninsula to the Barossa Valley.

“World heritage listing from UNESCO is highly sought after, and there are only 12 agricultural landscapes that have been world heritage listed around the world,” Johnston says.

“We’re really pleased to be continuing the discussion with James Rebanks, examining what makes a site unique and globally important, and what are the social cultural and economic benefits of world heritage listing,” Thompson says.

World heritage regions add social and cultural benefits, with tourism a key player in this.  However, these areas may be remote or unique and require well considered workforce development strategies like those designed by Workforce BluePrint.

August 2015


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