LOCAL workers are picking up about 35% of the jobs on the Pacific Hwy upgrade, according to State Government figures.
Minister for Roads Duncan Gay has released research results which found 30% of workers on the highway would consider permanently relocating to where they currently work.
The research - a profile of the construction workforce between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour and an accommodation study between Coffs Harbour and Ballina - was undertaken to assist planning for the 155-kilometre Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade.
Mr Gay said the latest survey results were a major win for the North Coast economy, with significant long-term benefits flowing to regional communities and their local businesses.
"Today, 3500 people are working directly on the Pacific Highway upgrade - of these 35% are local residents," Mr Gay said.
"It is also clear other workers are enjoying the North Coast lifestyle, with 30% wanting to be locals as they are considering permanently relocating to their current work location.
"This makes sense when you consider more than half of survey respondents have been working on various sections of the Pacific Highway upgrade for as many as seven or eight years.
"It means the upgrade is providing a continued source of employment for these workers who are moving from one job along the upgrade to the next.
"Importantly, it also means we now have a long-term, skilled workforce based on the North Coast providing valuable transferrable skills to build other sections of the upgrade.
"Other significant study results show about 65% of workers rent their accommodation off local businesses and home owners - boosting the local economy.
"North Coast communities are also set to benefit from the 43% of workers who relocated as a family unit with their partners."
Key findings from the survey, with nearly 1000 workers who responded, include:
- About 72% will work on the upgrade for between one and three years.
- About 65% of those who relocate rent local accommodation.
- About 50% have worked on the upgrade for as many as eight years.
- About 43% who relocated had a family or partner relocate with them.
- About 38% who relocated to the area have joined a local sporting team or club.
Details at www.rms.nsw.gov.au/pacific.