Jobless workers leave CQ in mass migration
REGIONAL Queenslanders have undertaken a mass migration in the past decade, leaving their home towns for work.
According to an analysis by economist Nick Behrens, the state's south-east corner has been flooded with arrivals from the regions as the economy changed and the mining industry went through its boom and bust.
Fly-in, fly-out workforces in the mining and construction industries have increased the problem, but he said it was clear that people followed job opportunities.
The worst-hit regions were the outback and Townsville.
Mr Behrens said the problem was also compounded by the inability of regional communities to adapt to change - a point highlighted in a recent Productivity Commission report which found about three-quarters of the state to be among the least adaptive or below average.
According to Mr Behrens, the population in the outback (which includes Mount Isa) has grown by about 8% in the past decade, which is well below the whole state growth of 20%. Job growth in the outback has fallen by 15%. But there were places that defied expectations. The Darling Downs-Maranoa region had only 10% population growth but 15% job growth.
"If there is one place that needs 457 visas or the equivalent it's the Darling Downs," Mr Behrens said.
"It has an unemployment rate of 3.6%. They can't get people to move there."
Townsville also did far worse for jobs than Mackay even though the respective population growths were the same.
"This indicates that Mackay has weathered the downturn in the resources sector and is slowly bouncing back. Across the 10 years of analysis Mackay's cycle has run it course while Townsville is still very much in the infancy of a downturn.''