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Mining towns will survive: new report

Despite the mining boom coming to an end, a new report says mining towns will find a way to survive.

The Productivity Commission investigated the transition of regional economies and found most mining regions were resilient and highly adaptive to economic pressures.

In the Gunnedah local government area (LGA), mining now accounts for more than half of the region’s gross regional production and employs almost 500 people.

However, Gunnedah and District Chamber of Commerce president Michael Broekman said there’s much more to Gunnedah than just mining.

“When the coal price dropped a year or two ago, Gunnedah wasn’t overly effected,” Mr Broekman said.

“That’s due to our region being so diverse in its local economy.

“We’ve always had a strong agriculture sector. We have a very big aged care sector, which employs hundreds of people. It’s a great industry for us and one that’s not often highlighted.

“It’s very important that towns maintain that diversity.”

Despite the region’s mines being expected to operate well into the coming decades, the chamber and Gunnedah Shire Council are already looking at life after mining and investigating ways to “future proof the town”.

“That’s our focus all the time,” Mr Broekman said.

“We had a major problem in the late 90s and early 2000s when mining had a major shutdown in Gunnedah. We hope to never see those days again.”

“Hence the direction we’ve taken to encourage conversations in our agriculture sector with our friends in China.

“It’s all about exploring export and investment opportunities.

“We want to continue encouraging a diverse economy to make sure we are not just mining focused.”

More than 20 per cent of Narrabri LGA’s economy is mining related.

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