Yarrawonga and the wider Hume region continues to be among Victoria’s economic powerhouses with tourism and employment being the regions major drawcards.
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Hume, which encompasses Moira, Alpine, Benalla, Shepparton, Indigo, Mansfield, Mitchell, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, Towong, Wangaratta and Wodonga local government areas and has a population of over 312,000, has experienced an employment growth rate of 8.3 per cent over the five years to 2022 according to the latest Regional Development Australia data.
As of March 2023, the most recent figures available, the region’s unemployment rate now stands at 3.1 per cent.
Areas of major jobs growth over the five-year period include healthcare, social assistance, agriculture, forestry and fishing, construction and public administration.
Chair of Regional Development Australia Hume (RDA Hume) and All Saints Estate Director Eliza Brown said that Yarrawonga and the Hume region continues to be a standout, supplying vital economic lifeblood to the Victorian economy.
“We call it the heartbeat of Victoria, because we are located right on the spine of the Hume Highway, Melbourne to Sydney. We have that as our advantage,” Ms Brown said.
“We also have the natural assets, the rivers, the alpine regions and the beautiful towns within the Hume region.
“They make it a really liveable place.
“The Moira Shire and Alpine areas linked with the attraction of wine and gourmet food destinations and other popular tourist towns combined to attract almost nine million domestic overnight and daytrip visitors to the Hume region during the year ending June 2023.
“They contributed more than $3.2 billion in tourism expenditure in the region — a truly remarkable achievement given the challenges that the sector has endured in recent years.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are, we have fantastic facilities.
“For young families, retirees and everyone in between, it is such a beautiful, easy to get to place.
“The location really helps, we are producing beautiful produce, excellent tourism facilities and I think that all combines into one fantastic place to live.”
Ms Brown also highlighted tourism as an ever increasingly important economic driver for the Hume region.
“The tourism in our area with the natural assets is a major advantage we have that many other areas across Australia don’t have,” Ms Brown said.
“You can be sunning yourself along the lakes and rivers or jet skiing to all the activities add to our beautiful region.
“What we produce out of the Hume region is fantastic food and wine at a premium quality that is not seen anywhere else in Australia.
“Tourism is one of our greatest strengths in addition to our ability to manufacture.
“That brings a lot of opportunity for work, opportunities to manufacture goods here in an area that is right on the spine.
“Hume is kind of like a little Europe.
“Yarrawonga is where my grandparents and mum grew up. It is very close to my heart.
“It has so much opportunity and I’m hoping to see it embrace that liveability. It is very close to the larger towns which is appealing and it’s such a beautiful spot to visit and live.”
Hume’s gross regional product continues its upward trend rising by 9.8 per cent over the five years to 2022. Since 2016, the number of businesses in the Hume region has also increased by almost 4000, reaching close to 32,000.
“We have had 4000 new businesses start in the region and one of the reasons for that is the space that we have,” Ms Brown said.
“A lot of people moving over covid were looking for a beautiful space to start a business and work. “The Yarrawonga and entire Hume regions also have a sense of community.
“That is another real strength we have up here. That people really embrace new people coming into the community and I feel that if you are living in large cities now, they are so congested and frustrating to get around so people are moving out and feeling free-er.
“It is a better place to bring children up.
“Opportunities of good strength are manufacturing and business development up here because it is easy to do business. It’s more difficult in congested cities.
“We are just very lucky in this region, it is very rich with agricultural areas as well as tourism. It is a really good mix.
“As emphasised in our current Business Plan, RDA Hume is fortunate to be closely involved with all levels of government and has an important role in advocating for impactful projects across the region to maximise economic benefits to all of Hume.
“Our job is really to connect the state and federal government with the community to help them grow and prosper.”
According to the most recent quarterly data released from Murray Regional Tourism which also encompasses the Moira Shire under the Sun Country banner, the wider Sun Country region has seen an increase in all visitation for the year ending June 2023.
Sun Country recorded an impressive 1.7million overnight stays, 4% up from the same period last year with $306 million spent, a whopping 15.9% increase.
Domestic travel also saw an increase with 989,000 visitors spending $355 million in the region whilst the area also recorded 407,000 daytrip travellers who spent $50 million in the local area.