“In 12 to 18 months’ time we will be sitting back wondering what the fuss was about.”
Mayor Reg Kidd has moved to quash concerns of the ongoing impact of Myer’s closure and questions over the suitability of the development set to replace the retailer, claiming key indicators show the city’s economy will improve “for the next five years”.
The Summer Street department store permanently closed its doors in January, 2017, and the site has remained vacant since.
Coming less than a year after the last refrigerator rolled out of the Electrolux factory, many considered Myer’s closure a hammer blow to the city’s economy.
We are about to reap the benefits of a massive injection from the new hospital, the DPI, the refurbishment of the old Myer building, the Quest apartments.Orange mayor Reg Kidd
There has also been less-than-universal support for the food court slated for the historic Dalton Brothers building.
But according to Cr Kidd, a raft of data showed Orange had not only survived Myer’s closure, but thrived.
The mayor said over 500 construction jobs would be created in the next four years courtesy of the new Department of Primary Industries offices in Prince Street and the Bloomfield private hospital on Forest Road.
“That’s not to mention the hundreds of medical professionals who will be employed to service the new hospital,” Cr Kidd said.
According to data derived from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Centrelink, Orange’s unemployment rate in March was 3.81 per cent, which compared favourably to the regional NSW figure of 5.42 per cent.
Those in work appeared to be being paid comparatively well for their labour too, as ABS data revealed the average Orange weekly income was $1,146 – almost $300 more than Bathurst’s.
Cr Kidd said it was easy to talk down the economy but the facts spoke for themselves.
“I appreciate there has been some challenges in the CBD following the Myer closure,” Cr Kidd said.
“We are about to reap the benefits of a massive injection from the new hospital, the DPI, the refurbishment of the old Myer building, the Quest apartments, and in 12 to 18 months’ time we will be sitting back wondering what the fuss was about.”
“That enormous upwards trend … will continue for the next five years.”
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