From agriculture to mining: The changing economic base of a rural economy and implications for development

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Economic Analysis and Policy, 2016, 49 pp. 56 - 65
Issue Date:
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© 2015 Economic Society of Australia, Queensland. This paper uses economic-base theory and input-output modelling to examine the structure of a regional rural economy in New South Wales, Australia, drawing important policy implications for economic planners. The most salient trend has been a shift in the area's dependence from agriculture to mining over the recent decade. However, the level of diversity of the region's industrial composition has altered very little. Mining is also contributing to significant net leakage of employment income from the region. Mining should therefore not necessarily be considered as the key future opportunity for economic development. Instead, a number of industry sectors, particularly those that foster innovation and technology, can be harnessed to drive future regional growth. In addition, a tourism marketing strategy promoting the region's food, wine and other distinctive attributes should play an integral role in future development planning. These prescriptions are highly transferable to similar rural economies experiencing a shift to mining.
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