Jobs and Skills for Regional SA - Far North
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The Far North region covers nearly 800,000 square kilometres, or 80 percent of the State’s land mass. The region has a population of just 1.8 percent of the State’s total population – with 50 percent of the region’s population living in one town, Port Augusta. The region has five Local Councils - the Flinders Ranges Council, City of Port Augusta, Roxby Downs Council, District Council of Coober Pedy and the Outback Communities Authority, and is divided into four sub-regions: Port Augusta; Flinders Ranges; The Central Corridor; Coober Pedy and Far North.
The economic and employment characteristics of the sub-regions reflect the geographic size of the whole region, the population distribution, the variation in climate, natural resources and isolation. Port Augusta being the closest township to Adelaide and located on the Gulf acts as the region’s service centre and has the largest concentration of employed people. The natural beauty and relative accessibility of the Flinders Ranges brings tourism dollars and related jobs. The Far North features large pastoral properties, which employ relatively few people and the Central Corridor relies on mining and pastoral activities.
While the closure of Alinta’s operations at Leigh Creek and Port Augusta presents a significant challenge to the region, there are opportunities emerging in the fields of renewable energy such as the recently confirmed solar thermal storage project as well as defence and transport. Similarly, the approval of the Carrapateena copper mine is indicative of further resources investment.
The general levels of education and qualifications across the region are below the State average, which reflects the nature of the majority of the pastoral and mining industry jobs available in this region. Given Port Augusta is the regional service centre it requires workers with a range of skills and qualifications, from retail salespeople through to middle and upper management of its small to medium enterprises.
Download the Literature Review - Far North(PDF 210KB)
Regions In Focus: Far North
Far North (State Government Region)
The Department of State Development is implementing two strategic directions to respond to the challenges of economic change by:
- Better understanding the demand and need in relation to skills, training and employment in regional SA.
- Tailoring skills and employment investment to respond to local demand and need.
The population of the Far North region (29,000) people represents 1.7 per cent of South Australia's population, and the rate of population growth is just 0.3 per cent, compared to the State figure of 2.6 per cent.
Compared to South Australia, the Far North region has higher shares of people aged 0 to 14 years, and 25 to 64 years; with lower shares of people aged 15 to 24 years, and of people aged 65 and older.
In the December quarter 2016 there were 1,165 unemployed people in the Far North region, with an estimated unemployment rate of 7.9 per cent; higher than the State unemployment rate of 6.8 per cent
Residents of the Far North region have lower levels of school achievement compared to South Australia was a whole. In the Far North region, 37.0 per cent of the population aged 15 to 64 years have completed year 12 (or equivalent), compared to 54.2 per cent in South Australia.
Leigh Creek is geographically important to the Far North region of South Australia, as it is centrally located between Marree and Hawker and provides access to essential and social services for nearby smaller towns, stations and communities.
The surrounding communities served by Leigh Creek include Copley, Lyndhurst, Beltana, Iga Warta, Nepabunna, Arkaroola, Marree, Parachilna, Blinman, Farina, and Innamincka at the northern end of the Strzelecki track. The combined population of these townships, excluding Leigh Creek, is approximately 500 people.
The key recommendations of the Leigh Creek Futures report, aimed at assisting the town’s transition and return to Government on 1 January 2017, include:
- the Leigh Creek Township continuing to provide services to about 700 people in both the town and surrounding communities
- maintaining government services in Leigh Creek and retaining its major infrastructure to allow several longer-term proposals involving the mine site and town facilities to progress
- establishing a regional service town model to involve a staged process over 12 months from government takeover to an open township with housing made available to current residents initially.
- establishing a community management structure for Leigh Creek ensuring involvement of the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association and the surrounding community
- consider creating a dedicated position to focus on marketing and developing commercial opportunities for Leigh Creek and the surrounding area.
A copy of the Leigh Creek Futures report is available here (PDF 4.4MB).
For further information about Leigh Creek please see the Leigh Creek Futures website: http://leighcreekfutures.sa.gov.au.
Upper Spencer Gulf
The Upper Spencer Gulf and Outback region has faced challenges with the recent tightening of the mining and energy sectors. The South Australian government was quick to respond to the region’s need for support at a critical time.
South Australian government initial assistance to the region included:
An $8 million economic assistance package for the Upper Spencer Gulf and Outback region, which comprises:
- $2 million from the Regional Jobs Accelerator fund,
- $5 million prioritised under the RDF with Regional Development Fund round 3 in 2016-17, and
- $1 million to support job creation and economic initiatives in the Upper Spencer Gulf.
Additional assistance includes:
- $10 million Whyalla Small Business Loans Scheme, to provide interest-free loans to small businesses whose invoices had been frozen due to Arrium entering into administration;
- $50 million State Government commitment to support the new owner of the Whyalla steelworks, London-based GFC Alliance; and
- $101,050 to Regional Development Australia Far North to support 100 young people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were employed in the Alinta supply chain.
The Commonwealth government announced $20 million funding to support the Upper Spencer Gulf, from its $220 million Regional Jobs & Investment Package. The Local Investment Plan for the Upper Spencer Gulf (PDF 350KB) provides a framework for projects including local infrastructure, business innovation and skills and training.
- Department of State Development, Regional Workforce Report (PDF 540KB) and Data File (XLS 130KB)
- Download the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA Region In Focus report (PDF)
- Download the Regional Development Australia Board, Far North Regional Plan 2013-2016
To find out more about the engagement process planned for the Jobs and Skills for Regional SA project, please download the Skills and Employment Division Engagement Plan (PDF 345KB)