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Treasurer Scott Morrison has asked the Productivity Commission to identify the hardest-hit regions and towns that are at the largest risk of losing jobs and economic decline as the mining boom ends and manufacturing jobs head overseas.

During a conference in Sydney today, the Treasurer insisted that the commission investigate regional communities and deliver their interim findings before the new budget is rolled out in May next year.

“This work will assist the government with our investment and economic strategies going forward to support these areas and communities to move to a more reliable and sustainable economic base for them and their future,” Morrison said during the conference.

“Our economy is reconciling the impacts of globalisation and technological change and the Turnbull government wants to ensure that Australians are not being left behind.”

Regonising the decline of economies within regional Australia, recent months have seen other initiatives step up to the plate and offer support for the transition between a reliance on the mining sector towards the digital economy.

A report by StartupAUS released in September highlighted the potential of the agricultural industry if technology is embraced, outlining that the agtech could develop into an $100 billion dollar industry by 2030.

Last month the Victorian government announced the establishment of the Economic Growth Zone in the Latrobe Valley as part of a $226 million package to help boost the local economy after the Hazelwood power station declared its closure.

In October, Geelong startup incubator Pollenizer announced the launch of a program to assist hundreds of workers who were forced out of a job after the Ford factory closed as well as the broader community. The program intends to help participants explore potential business ideas in order to stimulate the growth of entrepreneurship and encourage collaboration.

Despite the evident decline in economy, treasurer Morrison said that while the economic transition will present a challenge for some regions, it will create growth and prosperity in others.

“While Australia continues to benefit from strong commodity export growth, and a transition to broader-based growth is under way, there are some parts of Australia doing it tougher than ­others,” said Morrison.

“The study will help to determine how well different regions are adapting to the transition and the factors which influence their capacity to adapt to changes in economic circumstances and to identify those regions most at risk of failing to adjust.”

Former Labor Minister of Trade Richard Marles, however, criticised the government’s lack of urgency in responding to the declining economy. Speaking to Sky News, Marles said that Morrison has neglected to regonise a three year course of Australian manufacturing being sent off shore.

“We have had an election this year where the government has talked about jobs and growth ad nauseam [but] has not been able to put anything else behind that three-word slogan,” Marles said.

Image: Scott Morrison. Source: abc.net.au

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