Drivers and opportunities
The Riverina-Murray economy has a competitive advantage in primary and secondary production. This is due to its agricultural and forestry endowments, leveraged by its strong food processing production base and connection to major freight corridors. The region is strategically linked to Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide via the major Hume Highway, Newell and Sturt highways. This makes it an attractive location for the warehousing and distribution of agricultural and manufactured freight.
Export demand for food produced in the Riverina-Murray is likely to increase as primary producers develop new international markets and take advantage of increasing demand from Asia and elsewhere. To meet this demand, and protect its prosperity and future growth potential, the region will need to innovate and adapt to the challenge of increasing water tradeability and the emerging impacts of climate change. Continued economic diversification will also help.
The Education and Training, and Health Care and Social Assistance sectors will continue to be important drivers in the region, as will the visitor economy.
With its close economic links to the Retail Trade, Accommodation and Food Services sectors, the visitor economy contributes significantly to the prosperity of the Riverina-Murray region.
Over four million people visit each year, contributing around $1.2 billion a year to the local economy. The services sector increased its share of regional output between 2011 and 2013. Its continued growth will help the economy to diversify, reducing the region's reliance on its primary industries (which can be exposed to volatile commodity prices and exchange rates).
The Riverina-Murray enjoys strong cross-border economic ties with Victoria. Border towns such as Albury/Wodonga, Echuca/Moama and Mildura/Wentworth benefit from shared public services, cooperation in tourism promotion and branding, and the joint hosting of hospitals and education campuses. Continuing to develop cross-border integration with Victoria and ACT will help unlock more synergies, enhance access to economic and social infrastructure and broaden employment opportunities.