SMASHED AVACADO: Bernard Salt was the keynote speaker for the Big Ideas Forum organised by the Business Excellence Program held at Roma Explorers' Inn on Wednesday.
SMASHED AVACADO: Bernard Salt was the keynote speaker for the Big Ideas Forum organised by the Business Excellence Program held at Roma Explorers' Inn on Wednesday. James Liveris

Bernard Salt's checklist for the Maranoa to flourish by 2029

ONE of Australia's leading social commentators and demographic guru Bernard Salt was in town this week discussing what the Maranoa needs to hold on to if it wants to flourish in 2029.

Mr Salt was a keynote speaker for the Big Ideas Forum organised by the Business Excellence Program held at Roma Explorers' Inn on Wednesday.

His leading work in demographics has given businesses vital insights into societal changes that impact decision-making, while also capturing wide public interest.

Mr Salt said his goal was to extend the breadth of research and information into new territories and with that he outlined a 10-year vision for the Maranoa.

"Australia is the 14th largest economy in the world and it will remain a prosperous nation with its economic force,” Mr Salt said.

"The future belongs to the skilled worker, Australia's largest share of job growth from 2011-16 was top tier level jobs including doctors, engineers, midwife etc - sitting at 46 per cent.

"Maranoa's social make up is dominated young adults, with 23-year-olds being the common age, we need to bring these opportunities here to keep the future in the region.”

Mr Salt said the Australian community is obsessed with the coast and lifestyle, which works against the Maranoa's primary interests.

"But if you are running retail or hospitality businesses you need to visit similar regional towns, visualise and see how they are succeeding,” he said.

"Echuca - this town has a very similar structure to the Maranoa, you need to look at how they are supporting their businesses and how can we emulate this.”

Whre does Maranoa fit in the broader structure?

Maranoa is the equivalent to the 105th largest urban mass in Australia which Mr Salt said is the perfect ingredients to a thriving town.

"You have the youth, energy muscle, tax payer and worker capacity in the Maranoa,” Mr Salt said.

According to the 2016 Census, the most common age in Australia was 33 years old for population distribution by age.

Mr Salt said trends in the Maranoa is a very high birth rate, and 21-23 is the common age.

"This is very unusual, you don't see an exodus of youth that you see in other communities and you need to hold onto that.”

Australians are losing faith in big institutions, looking for authenticity and connection

Mr Salt said that is where lies the opportunity for the Maranoa.

"Regional values are becoming important, the times are shifting in your direction,” Mr Salt said.

"The latest election results show a surging independent streak, especially in Queensland.

"Your customers, residents, constituents are thinking different to the generation before but our levels of distrust for authorities are the same as the Cold War.

"This is an opportunity for regional values, the way we live has changed but 'community” remains important.”

Consumer confidence dominates the knowledge worker industries

Mr Salt said the future belongs to the skill, a university degree or technological training.

"The lowest form of growth in the Maranoa are professional skilled jobs and scientific technology,” he said.

"Do have a start up hub, don't allow the youth to go to Toowoomba and Brisbane, you want to grow forward and give them that opportunity in the Maranoa.

"They are the jobs of the future, this is how the region needs to align itself to the opportunities and growth in Australia.”

Jobs and growth

Australia

May 2000 - May 2019

Jobs grown:

4,266,000

Jobs contracted:

255,000

Net jobs added:

4,011,000

Maranoa

May 2000 - May 2019

Jobs grown:

17,000

Jobs contracted:

9200

Net jobs added:

7800

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