Sale’s diverse economy will rebound well

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has rejected the findings of a study that suggests Sale is one of the top ten most vulnerable towns in Australia in terms of recovering from the coronavirus downturn. 

Mr O’Brien said the economic study headed by the University of South Australia was an academic exercise that failed to understand the diversity of the Sale and Wellington Shire economy. 

“It is unfortunate that this study has highlighted Sale as a town allegedly lacking in economic diversity. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

“Yes, we have a significant proportion of our economy involved in the oil and gas industry, but that is a good thing and despite the drop in the oil price there is unlikely to be any significant impact on our oil and gas sector from the coronavirus issue. 

“In addition, we have the diversity offered by the hundreds of jobs and trainees at the East Sale RAAF Base, southern Victoria’s best and most reliable irrigation district in the Macalister Irrigation District and a dryland farming sector now beginning to recover from drought. 

“Sure, we will have difficult times ahead particularly for tourism and retail businesses.  Our retail sector has been under pressure for some time and unfortunately some shops may not make it through this crisis.

“But others are showing great innovation and resilience to continue trading in these difficult times and I’m sure we will see many of them bounce back strongly when they can.”

Mr O’Brien said academic studies such as this are neither helpful nor accurate when confidence is critical in our local economy.

“Studies like this remind me why economics is known as the ‘dismal science’. Having an economics degree myself, I know how these conclusions can be reached, but in this case they are wrong about Sale.

“Compared to most regional towns of a similar size, we have a well-diversified economy, innovative business people and a skilled and well-educated workforce.

“We are all facing difficult times ahead, but I am optimistic that Sale, Wellington Shire and Gippsland generally will bounce back quickly from this crisis.”

Mr O’Brien said there was still significant capital expenditure being undertaken in Bass Strait gasfields while there were good prospective new industries emerging with plans for the Solis RE solar farm in the Shire and the proposed Star of the South offshore wind farm off Port Albert.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, says Sale’s diverse economy will rebound well from the coronavirus downturn.


15 April 2020

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