‘Incubator’ for growth

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Bernard Salt spoke in Busselton earlier this week.
Camera IconBernard Salt spoke in Busselton earlier this week. Credit: Pierra Willix

High-profile demographer Bernard Salt has singled out Busselton as an “incubator” for small business growth, saying it has bucked Statewide trends after the end of the mining boom.

Speaking at an event in Busselton yesterday, Mr Salt said the Busselton region was one of Australia’s fastest-growing business communities in the country.

Over two years, from 2014 to 2016, the number of microbusinesses in Australia increased by 5 per cent, while in Busselton this figure was 11 per cent.

Mr Salt said the collapse of the mining boom had affected regional areas across WA differently, but noted the South West had prospered.

“The whole of regional WA has subsided and has lost population over a time frame since the collapse of the mining boom, however, statistics in the South West are different. Busselton and Bunbury have continued to grow right throughout the post-mining boom,” he said.

Mr Salt said the Busselton region was well ahead of national average in sole trader businesses. “Since the end of the mining boom Australia has increased sole traders by 2 per cent, while in the Busselton region this is 12 per cent, which means that around 5 per cent of Busselton’s population are sole traders,” he said.

Service sectors have driven the growth, with public administration businesses up 100 per cent, real estate up 30 per cent and arts and recreation businesses up 21 per cent since 2014.

Mr Salt pointed to Busselton as a hotspot for people looking for a sea change from major cities.

“Something is happening here apart from just straight population growth — there is an entrepreneurial energy coming out of this region,” he said.

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