Barossa identified as economic growth 'hotspot'

The Barossa is a leader in one of four key industries that a recent report says could help drive economic growth in regional Australia.

According to the Regional Australia Institute, through the Barossa's specialised wine and beverage processing industry which is one of the four 'hotspot' growth industries, it is one of the top local employers in regional Australia.

RAI co-CEO Liz Ritchie says the new report pinpoints regions across the country where jobs in food processing, tourism, advanced manufacturing and creative industries really matter for local employment, and where policy makers and regional leaders should focus investment.

"By analysing jobs numbers, we can see where these 'specialised' regions are located - we can also see which ones are performing above national and industry trends, and which are not," Liz Ritchie said.

"Specialised regions in this report are the places where there is a high proportion of local jobs in the industry, compared to the national average for a place of that size."

In the Barossa's case, specialisation in wine and beverage processing has placed it as the second most specialised areas of food processing in the country.

There are158 Regional LGAs specialised in Food Processing

"OECD experience shows that business-led specialisation approaches are effective in supporting regions to maintain their competitiveness in national and global contexts," Ms Ritchie said.

The report has identified Plantagenet (WA), Indigo (VIC), Woodanilling (WA) and Barossa (SA) as the most specialised areas for food processing employment in regional Australia.

"This report highlights that even though a region may be 'specialised', local factors play a significant role in either driving or constraining growth potential," Liz Ritchie said.

RAI co-CEO Dr Kim Houghton says the new research will enable policy makers and regional stakeholders to prioritise investment opportunities and help energise local economies in a more strategic way.

"We are recommending that policy makers tailor their approach in local regions - by supporting those that are performing above trends, and removing barriers for those that aren't," Dr Houghton said.

"We're also encouraging regional leaders to take a look at how their region is tracking, then kick start conversations about what plans are needed for the future," Dr Houghton said.