Report links grains production to regional jobs

By Jamie Salter

A new report has revealed a strong correlation between Australian grains production and jobs in regional areas — about one job for every 1000 tonnes of grain produced.

The research was conducted by the Regional Australia Institute with Grains Research and Development Corporation investment.

GRDC head of industry and government relations Justin Crosby said grains comprised about a quarter of the value of Australia’s agricultural industry.

“The number of grain production jobs — people involved in the growing of grain, which may be in combination with the production of other crops and livestock — increases with raw grain tonnage and gross value,” Mr Crosby said.

“For every 100,000 tonnes of grain produced there are, on average, 87 grain production jobs in the northern growing region (Queensland and NSW); 121 in the southern region (Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania); and 54 in the western region (Western Australia).”

He said grain worth $10 million in gross value generated about 41 jobs in the southern region.

Mr Crosby said while the grains industry continued to be a significant source of Australian employment, the number of grain production jobs fell from 50,707 jobs in the 2006 Census, to 34,745 in 2016.

“In the face of tight labour markets in regional Australia, grain growers have been able to adapt through adopting improved technologies and achieving increased efficiencies.

“Regions with a high proportion of grain production jobs, compared with the national average, have a specialisation in grain production and are more dependent on the success of the grains industry for economic outcomes.”

The research has been outlined in The Grains Industry’s Value in Regional Economies GRDC report.