What the results tell us for Snowy River
Much of the Census data for the Snowy River Shire is distorted by the timing of the Census in mid-winter when the ski season is at its peak. As a result, the economic analysis for the Snowy River Shire is deliberately shortened to address only data of which we can be confident.
The Council (see http://www.snowyriver.nsw.gov.au) boasts the fifth highest growth rate of all the local government areas in New South Wales, the second fastest outside of the Sydney basin.
Several measures indicate that the Snowy River Shire economy has enjoyed prosperity in recent times. Annual growth in its Gross Regional Product was 1.7% in the decade to 2001.
Output from all industries in the shire was valued at $447.7 million, with tourism and hospitality services far outstripping all other industries for value to the shire.
Several factors were likely to influence the shire's economy in the reporting period beyond 2001. These were:
- the bushfires in January 2003 which caused the Thredbo Blues Festival to be abandoned and continuing hazardous weather conditions throughout that summer—loss of tourism
- the drought which largely succeeded the 2001 Census—agricultural and associated losses
- the commencement of the Commonwealth's Good and Services Tax (GST), followed by the lowest interest rates in 30 years and the Commonwealth Government's $14,000 First Home Buyers' Grant to encourage home investment, in response to the impact of GST on the construction industry.
As data for this indicator were sourced mostly from the 2001 Census, effects of the above factors cannot be gauged in this report.
A growing economy
Gross Regional Product (see About the data) for Snowy River Shire rose from $209.2 million in 1991 to $248.2 million in 2001 (in 2001 dollars)—an annual increase of 1.7% (NIEIR 2003)—and the median for the local government areas in the Australian Capital Region.
The total value of industry output in 2001 was $447.7 million (see Table 1). Tourism makes by far the most significant contribution to the shire's economy.
The contribution of unspecified (smaller) industries amalgamated under the term 'other output' shows the value of diversification of industry to the community.
|Tourism and hospitality services||202.7|
Source: NIEIR (2003)
Council's website provides more detail about industry and productivity in the shire. Examples of its productivity include Angus cattle produce and Merino fine wool resources of the Monaro Plains (with their international reputation) and (fitting into the 'other output' category in Table 1) cold climate wheat, deer, ostrich and llama farming, a bulb and cut flower industry, worm farming, the growing of lavender, vegetable produce, fodder crops and a cool climate boutique grape and berry industry.
Examples of industry are located at the Leesville Industrial Estate at Jindabyne and the Berridale Industrial Park and include a growing number of light industrial enterprises (closely linked to activities within the Kosciuszko National Park), freight transport operators and retail outlets. The construction-related businesses in this area are said to have continued to prosper well in advance of other rural communities.
The value and number of building approvals can be an indicator of economic growth. The figures obtained from Snowy River Shire Council support the growth that was suggested by the increase in Gross Regional Product (see Table 2).
|No. of new res buildings||84||141||67.9%|
|No. of alts/adds to res buildings||27||14||–48.1%|
|No. of new non-res buildings||34||12||–64.7%|
|No. of alts/adds to non-res buildings||3||1||–66.7%|
|Total no. of buildings (res & non-res)||148||176||18.9%|
|Total value of residential building $'000||$8,607||$13,635||58.4%|
|Total value of non-res building $'000||$1,787||$600||–66.4%|
|Total value of building (res & non-res) $'000||$10,843||$14,235||31.3%|
Source: Snowy River Shire Council
Consistent with the main income coming from tourism, most of the employed 'usual residents' of the Snowy River Shire in 2001 had jobs in the tertiary sector in 2001. The biggest employers were Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants and the Retail Trade—all influenced by the success of the tourism and hospitality services industries. Table 3 demonstrates the spread of employment for both sexes across the various industries.
|Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants||619||525||1,144|
|Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing||283||104||387|
|Property and Business Services||128||128||256|
|Cultural and Recreational Services||97||68||165|
|Health and Community Services||28||135||163|
|Personal and Other Services||84||51||135|
|Transport and Storage||70||43||113|
|Government Administration and Defence||59||44||103|
|Electricity, Gas and Water Supply||69||10||79|
|Finance and Insurance||12||22||34|
|Non-classifiable economic units||14||3||17|
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003) Catalogue 2004.0 (see About the data)
Table 3 is based on usual residents of the Snowy River Shire—some of those employees will actually travel outside the shire to their place of employment.
By comparison, the Australian Bureau of Statistics Working Population Profile which is based on place of employment (see About the data) gives some indication of the impact of the ski season on this shire's economy. From that profile, there were 4,333 people working in the Snowy River Shire as at Census night in 2001—at least an additional 662 employees. Many of them were employed in Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants which employed 2,125 people at that time.
Consistent with the types of industry and development that are predominant in the shire, some 85% of the labour force was employed in the private sector in 2001 (Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003) Catalogue No. 2004.0).
Table 4 gives an indication of the size of the labour force within the usual residents of the Snowy River Shire.
|Total labour force||2,218||1,631||3,849|
|Not in the labour force||467||586||1,053|
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003) Catalogue No. 2004.0
Of those in the labour force, some 68% were in full-time work and 30% were employed part-time in 2001 (Table 5). We were unable to locate long-term data on full-time and part-time employment of usual residents of the Snowy River Shire. However, this level of part-time employment is in keeping with other local government areas within the Region (see Economy in other council areas in the Australian Capital Region). The increase in the proportion of part-time employment over the past 20 years nation-wide is well-documented, and certainly, is true for the local government areas within the Region.
|Persons employed full time (number)||1610||896||2506|
|Persons employed part time (number)||441||653||1094|
|Employed persons (number)||2100||1589||3689|
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003) Catalogue No. 2004.0
About the data
Gross regional product (GRP) is the regional equivalent of the national measure of Gross domestic product (GDP). GDP is conceptually described in detail in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Catalogue No. 5216.0, Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods.
Australian Bureau of Statistics Catalogue No. 2004.0, Usual Residents Profile, is based on place of usual residence. It shows how many Snowy River Shire residents are employed, though they may not necessarily be employed within the shire.
Australian Bureau of Statistics Catalogue No. 2006.0, Working Population Profile, is based on place of employment, excludes overseas visitors and is applicable for Journey to Work Study Areas and aggregates of these. It shows how many people are employed in jobs within the Snowy River Shire.
Snowy River Shire Council provided data for Number and total value of building approvals by type for 1991 and 2001.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2002) Year Book Australia 2002, last updated 11 March 2003.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003) Catalogue No. 2004.0, Usual Residents Profile.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003) Catalogue No. 2006.0, Working Population Profile.
National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (2003) State of the Regions 2003—Your Place, Tables: 'Regional Statistics for Snowy River Shire Council', http://www.nieir.com.au/.
NIEIR—see National Institute of Economic and Industry Research