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South Western Victoria regional population profiles

Our firm enjoys a strong local presence in major centres right across the West and South West of Victoria. As a result of handling so many injury and industrial matters for people in the region, our staff have a good understanding of the major companies and employers.

Here is a snapshot of population numbers and some of the key types of industries in which workers are employed.

Ararat

There are between 7,500 and 8,000 people living in Ararat. The entire municipality covers an area of 4,200 square kms.

While the population works mostly in farming in agriculture, there are several major employers in the region.

These include an abattoir that employs about 300 people, a company that manufactures agricultural machinery and employs about 100 people and a firm with a staff of approximately 200 people and manufactures wire harnesses.

For further information: www.ararat.vic.gov.au.

Colac

Colac's population is around 11,000. The city has a strong manufacturing background and a wealth of natural resources such as agriculture and timber. Two of Australia's leading diary companies have a major presence in the area.

Aside from dairying, it is beef, lamb and fine merino wool that are the mainstay of the Colac Otway economy. They also represent the main source of most of its manufacturing activity and contribute to the Shire's tourism assets.

Colac has a strong health and community services sector and a 50-bed hospital (Colac Area Health).

For further information: www.colacotway.vic.gov.au.

Corangamite Shire

Corangamite may not be well know as a term, but the major towns of Camperdown, Cobden, Terang and Port Campbell have a much higher profile, as does the magnificent Southern Ocean coastline.

Despite a long-term decline in population due mainly to the shrinking number of smaller farms and a loss generally in farming employment, Corangamite has stablized in recent years, partly due to tourism and modest growth in health and education. The population currently sits at around 17,500.

Lifestyle also is a powerful magnet for newcomers, many of whom are settling in the region from overseas.

The dairy processing industry is solid, as it has a major export focus and a consistent demand for milk products like cheese domestically. Cobden is home to perhaps Australia's most recognized and awarded butter brand, Western Star, made by Fonterra.

Perhaps the most promising prospect for economic growth centres on the development of the Otway Basin for gas production.

For further information: www.corangamite.vic.gov.au.

Hamilton

Hamilton's population is approximately 9,500.

Sheep grazing and agriculture are the primary industries in the Shire producing as much as 15% of Australia's total wool clip.

The retail (20%) and health and community services sectors (14.5%) are big employers along with education, due in part to the presence of four secondary schools in the area.

A $300 million mineral sands project produces rutile and zircon for the world market. The operation has led to the creation of about 150 new jobs at the mine site and separation plant.

The Shire is heavily involved with the burgeoning plantation forestry industry

For further information: www.sthgrampians.vic.gov.au.

Horsham

The city of Horsham has a population of approximately 14,000.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing account for nearly 5,000 jobs in the broader area, or 22% of the workforce.

Another 3,160 people (14% or the working population) work in local heath care and social assistance roles.

Retail accounts for the employment of a further 11,783 people.

For further information: www.hrcc.vic.gov.au.

Portland

Portland's population is in excess of 10,000.

Obviously, the largest single employer is the Alcoa smelter. It is Victoria's largest exporter and indeed i one of the largest in the world, employing more than 700 people.

Portland enjoys a large professional fishing fleet, spawning complementary industries in seafood processing and aquaculture. The Port of Portland, one of the few natural deepwater ports in Australia, is a trade link for South Australia' south western region and Victoria's Western district bulk grain woodchips, logs, fertiliser and aluminium with livestock, sheep and cattle also handled through this port.

Wind farming and alternative energy is a big growth industry. Glenelg Shire, for example, hosts one of the biggest wind farm developments in the southern hemisphere.

The Shire of Glenelg also boasts a strong agriculture industry, along with timber, which draws its resource from large pine and gum plantations in the area.

For further information: www.glenelg.vic.gov.au.

Warrnambool

Warrnambool is the largest city in the region, housing a population of about 34,000.

The city currently enjoys the lowest unemployment rate of all regional cities in Victoria.

Within the workforce, some 18% work in retail, 15% in healthcare and community srevices, 10% in education and training and 9% in accommodation and food services. A further 8% are employed in manufacturing.

Both Deakin University and South West TAFE are among the major employers in the area.

For further information: www.warrnambool.vic.gov.au.