OUR SAY: We need to take job growth seriously
THE Clarence Valley needs to address its lack of career opportunities and subsequent drain of its young people.
We know we have the highest youth unemployment in the state.
Meanwhile a research report exclusive to The Daily Examiner, compiled by Australia's leading demographer Bernard Salt, reveals some alarming population trends.
The proportion of the Valley's population in the 18 to 40 year age bracket is significantly below the national average.
And the forecast is bleak, with predictions this age bracket will continue to decline between 2019 and 2029.
These people are our future.
We need to be prepared for the highway, jail and bridge construction exodus.
We need to be pushing employment growth for our young people, and doing it now.
Yamba Welding and Engineering, which currently employs 34 people, boasts an average age of 28 in its workforce.
Owner Bill Collingburn plans to relocate his boat building business from its confines in Yamba Industrial Estate to a new site to increase its capabilities and triple its workforce.
Why? To ensure there are jobs in the Lower Clarence.
He wants the business he built from the ground up to stay in the region. When he retires, without an expansion there is a real risk of those jobs being taken interstate and out of the Clarence Valley forever.