Jody Lindbeck’s Mum’s the Word | OPINION, March 16, 2017

IF you listen to the prattle coming out of Canberra on any given day, it’s likely at least some of the political talking heads will be pontificating about the state of our economy.

No matter who is in government, ministers and their opposition counterparts will try to use economic forecasts and predictions to either back up, or destroy, the other side’s political credibility.

It is probably no surprise then, that many people tend to take little notice of the hot air wafting from the national capital and simply look around them to assess how the economy is travelling.

And for Wagga, the news around us right now appears to be very good.

The Daily Advertiser reported this week that: “The overwhelming majority of Wagga’s most successful business people are convinced the stars are aligning for the local economy.”

“Seventy-four per cent of the city’s largest employers believed the city’s economic outlook was ‘good’ or ‘excellent’,” The DA reported.

“At the same time as close to three in four local business people believe the local economy is taking off, another key indicator of Wagga’s prosperity – the agriculture industry – is staring down record profits.

“Riverina’s large-scale crop farmers are gearing up for one of their best seasons in two decades, thanks to an exceptional spring, a bumper grain harvest and soaring livestock prices.”

And not only is The DA reporting an upswing in the rural sector, but also that just 4.5 per cent of Wagga’s 30,589 labour force is unemployed as of January, which is the second lowest unemployment rate outside Sydney bested only by the Hunter Valley. 

Now that’s not to say running a business in our city is not without its challenges.

As The Daily Advertiser reported, “Committee 4 Wagga’s (C4W) survey of its members, who are collectively responsible for more than 4500 local jobs, emphasised the importance of the looming levee bank upgrade and council’s ability to attract a commercial partner to build the Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics (RIFL) hub.”

Running a business is not for the faint of heart, so in an era when the powers-that-be in Canberra appear to be out of touch and, worse still, often completely clueless about life beyond the halls of Parliament House, it is reassuring that there are still a great many people who are not only willing to take a risk, but they are willing to take a risk right here in our city.

With the construction of our new hospital facilities and police station in recent times, along with the courthouse redevelopment and building of several large office blocks and residential projects, our city really does have the vibe of a community on an upswing.

Perhaps these large-scale projects have provided a boost for smaller businesses, or perhaps the success of modestly sized companies has provided a solid base which justifies bigger developments.

Really, it doesn’t matter either way.

What matters is that our city feels lively and vibrant and the business people who are putting their livelihoods on the line right here each day are confident about their long-term future right here in Wagga.

It seems the message is out that Wagga is a great place not only to live and enjoy the social and recreational facilities, but to build a business with a solid chance of success well into the future.