BE JOB READY: John Murray.
BE JOB READY: John Murray.

Economic boom on the way for North Coast, says Chamber boss

THE North Coast is in the best position it's ever been, said Northern Rivers Business Chamber regional manager John Murray.

Mr Murray told a breakfast meeting of the Grafton Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday the region was about to experience an unprecedented economic boom over the next five years.

"The build on the Pacific Highway upgrade is massive, it's the biggest single regional project in the southern hemisphere," he said.

Mr Murray said the highway, plus a number of other projects in the region happening at the same time, gave the region a chance to overcome a severe problem with youth unemployment.

"We're the third worst region in Australia for youth unemployment," Mr Murray said.

He told the meeting his business chamber was working with database company ICN to create a conduit for local businesses to secure tenders for the work.

"The idea is we create a database of companies in our region, the skills they possess to ensure we get our businesses at the front of the queue to get the work that's coming."

Mr Murray said it was also vital to use the time available now to train young people with the skills that will make them "job ready" for highway work.

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