8500 jobs for Coffs/Clarence region

FEDERAL Government modelling shows 8500 jobs will be created in the Clarence/Coffs Harbour region over the next five years.

The boost in jobs represents a 13.2% increase in jobs over the period.

Federal member for Page Kevin Hogan has welcomed the projections, as fantastic news for job seekers and families.

"This is a 13.2% increase in jobs over the next five years which is the strongest growth anywhere in regional NSW," he said.

"The vast majority of these jobs are connected to the Federal Government's $5.6 billion investment in the duplication of the Pacific Highway between Ballina and Woolgoolga.

"It is confirmation that the Government's promise to build the

infrastructure for the 21st Century is creating jobs and economic growth in our local community."

The Department of Employment's projected jobs growth for the Clarence Valley does not include the State Government's announcement this week that it will construct a new jail in Grafton.

The Department of Employment figures project employment in the Richmond/Tweed area will jump by 6000 new jobs, or 7.1% growth, in the same period.

Grafton Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Phil Belletty said the numbers were exciting for local business.

"these sorts of figures provide incentives to invest in staff and plant and upskill existing staff," he said.

"It's not a short-term boost, but long-term confidence."

Mr Belletty said with the news of the jail bringing 100 or more long term jobs to the region on top of these figures, plans for a post-2020 Clarence Valley were also starting to take shape.

"The chamber has been working with the council and local member Chris Gulaptis on establishing industries like a transport hub," he said.

"The opportunities are there for us to capitalise on. We're getting the confidence to invest in our future."

Plans are afoot for the Gwydir Highway. More in Monday's paper.

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