New research has mapped out Queensland’s most vulnerable suburbs for severe job loss and economic downturn sparked by COVID-19.
New research has mapped out Queensland’s most vulnerable suburbs for severe job loss and economic downturn sparked by COVID-19.

Cultural hub one of 10 suburbs on RED ALERT

NEW research has mapped Queensland's most vulnerable suburbs profiling their likelihood of job losses during the ongoing economic downturn sparked by COVID-19.

The usual suspects make the grade but one alarming inclusion is the cultural hub of Sunnybank which scrapes in at number 10.

ON RED ALERT!: THE 10 MOST VULNERABLE SUBURBS

1. Redland Islands

2. Upper Caboolture

3. Caboolture - South

4. Bribie Island

5. Woodridge

6. Logan Central

7 Eagleby

8. Beenleigh

9. Inala - Richlands

10. Sunnybank

 

Empty Chinese restaurants at Market Square in Sunnybank. Picture: John Gass
Empty Chinese restaurants at Market Square in Sunnybank. Picture: John Gass

Professor Scott Baum of Griffith University at Nathan compiled the data as a joint study with the University of Newcastle.

He used census data to calculate which towns and cities nationally were more likely to be affected by an economic downturn.

"There are two main points from this data," Mr Baum said.

"We see the usual suspects that are already disadvantaged and then we see Sunnybank is among them and this is perhaps something we haven't seen before at this level."

The popular Market Square has seen better days. Residents seen there today. Picture: Richard Walker
The popular Market Square has seen better days. Residents seen there today. Picture: Richard Walker

Mr Baum said there was a number of reasons Sunnybank was flagged for emerging job losses including the percentage of those employed in the hospitality industry was almost double the national average.

Sunnybank has 12.77 per cent of its population working in hospitality compared to 6.91 per cent in Australia.

"Sunnybank is interesting because there are lots of students and they fit the bill for casual work so they are impacted too," he said.

Mr Baum said it would be a wait and see game on how the economy would be able bounce back in the area and he agreed that projects like the $40 million development at Market Square could help.

"Sunnybank will see a change and this will probably happen in the commercial landscape of the area."

The $40 million development at Market Square. Picture: Richard Walker
The $40 million development at Market Square. Picture: Richard Walker

The Employment Vulnerability Index 3.0 was released late last week and the study used heat mapping to track which suburbs are more likely to be affected by the downturn.

SEE THE HEAT MAP

The top ranking area of concern was the Redland Islands followed by Caboolture and Bribie Island.

Logan suburbs also featured with Woodridge, Logan Central, Eagleby and Beenleigh making the grade. For Brisbane Inala ranked 9th.

Mr Baum said the existing disadvantaged job loss areas could suffer permanent generational setbacks while the emerging job loss group of workers would experience varying economic effects.

Eagleby ranks at number 7 and is part of a vulnerable community.
Eagleby ranks at number 7 and is part of a vulnerable community.

He added that this could localise financial hardship and in turn increase social problems.

Mr Baum said the research was build around an idea on the types of jobs that people hold and what was known about the previous down turn.

"We did this research after the Global Financial Crisis back in 2008/9 so it was a pretty easy turn around to do it again," he said.

"In terms of what happens it will come down to the impact for the JobKeeper payment and how we subsidise wages.

"That said, I don't think the government is talking about a snap back. For some of these places this may not really apply to them either. If the government is going to snap back there will be places that will come back but what if people just aren't spending money?"

"We saw this after the GFC where people just stopped spending."

"This is the perfect story people will see the writing on the wall. A modern government needs to look at this and learn from it."

Mr Braum this was easy from a national level but the state government would be hamstrung by budgetary requirements.

"There needs to be a place-based approach to invigorate these places. It will come back eventually but for the time being it is going to be a wait and see."

"When we did the research for the GFC everyone got a pay out and they got to go out and spend money," he said.

"That is what needs to happened here. People often think the market is going to fix everything but people just don't have the money."

"To put it more broadly we have had a tough six months. We have had summer, droughts, floods, bushfires and now a plague."

"Many think COVID-19 was a way to destroy Australia because nothing else did."

"What we will see from this is people that were comfortable all of a sudden not being able to live and pay rent."

"It is an interesting time. We will see a whole generation of kids, who have never experienced anything like this before."

"They will become thrifty and there will be changes coming with less travel for people along with less business travel."

Originally published as Brisbane cultural hub one of 10 suburbs on RED ALERT


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