Riverina Eastern Regional Organisation of Councils (REROC) chief Julie Briggs has blamed the poor performance of the Riverina Electorate in terms of economic growth on the electorate's new towns and villages, such as Parkes, Forbes and Cowra.
The Riverina electorate has registered the slowest possible rate of economic growth, despite the national economy growing at the highest rate in three years.
The latest published economic growth figures using census information about the distribution of economic activity and employment data, shows Riverina's GDP grew by just 0.1 per cent in 2014-15.
According to the data, economic activity in inner suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne are growing 50 times faster than Riverina.
Cowra Mayor Bill West said he doesn't believe the data is even relevant.
“While I agree on the issue of having no community of interest between Cowra and the Riverina, I can’t see the relevance of this data as we are not even a part of the Riverina Electorate yet,” Cr West who is also chair of CENTROC said.
“Cowra, Forbes and Parkes do have a strong economic basis that we can be proud of,” cr West said.
Riverina was trumped by every neighbouring electorate, including Farrer, Parkes, Calare, Hume and Eden-Monaro.
Riverina MP Michael McCormack dismissed the statistic claiming it was skewed by the region’s consistently high productivity.
“Some electorates have recorded 5 per cent growth, but they’re starting from a low base and a sudden spurt of activity exaggerates the figures,” Mr McCormack said.
“Not to mention 30 (out of 150) electorates are in decline.
“Unemployment figures are good and have been for a couple of years.
“We can always do more but I’m very excited and confident about the future of the local agriculture industry, taking advantage of preferential trade agreements.”
REROC chief Julie Briggs blamed the poor performance on the electorate’s new towns and villages, such as Parkes, Forbes and Cowra.
“Economically this electorate runs east-west, with cotton, chickens, horticulture, wine and nuts grown in the west and forestry in the east,” Ms Briggs said.
“The way I see it, historically things don’t come down from Parkes for processing, they go somewhere else.
“We’re being judged as an economic region that isn’t necessarily interdependent.
“The meat processed by Teys and the oilseeds processed by Riverina Oils & Bio Energy, they’re coming from what is now Farrer.
“Wagga’s the only big city in the new electorate and that economic drive gets dispersed to a degree.”
Nine of the 10 fastest growing electorates are held by the Coalition.
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