Help Center

How do I identify high-value local industries for an investment attraction strategy?

How to attract investment to your region by identifying high-value local industries of strategic importance. .id's senior economist, Rob Hall, gives a step-by-step guide to building this evidence base using

This case study presents examples from the North Burnett region in Queensland's Wide Bay region. Here is the question from our client:


I am working on a project that is looking at the region’s current available land (domestic, commercial and industrial use) and what type of land use might be required for the region’s future needs.

It is our intention to be proactive and look at the land available, infrastructure availability, land zonings etc whilst at the same time considering emerging industries we can target as part of an Investment Attraction Strategy Package.

We would like your assistance in identifying potential industries (and their needs) that would benefit from operating in our region, considering the available infrastructure.

Our Response

Rob Hall - Senior Urban economist, .id

Investment attraction objectives

Typically, investment attraction projects have one (or more) of the following objectives:

  1. You have an industry that is critical to your area and you want to make it stronger by attracting similar businesses
  2. There is an emerging sector of great potential that will thrive if attracted
  3. Growth in an established sector is inhibited and investment may remove this barrier, attracting businesses to the region
  4. You need to reduce dependencies on old sectors and diversify to support the growth of other sectors.

From your email, it looks like you are focussing on 1 and 2.

This is smart, as using your strengths is a great way to attract private sector investment. You may wish in the future to also look at barriers and dependencies (3 and 4) to unlock the regions potential (e.g. skills and qualification programs).

Using to show which industries are dominant or emerging

Your economic profile is a great resource to identify your major industries and which ones are growing/declining. The Location Quotient tool will also provide a useful way to identify the strength of an industry (or opportunity to grow), relative to the Wide Bay Burnett Region, state or country.

If you’d like to learn more about why we developed the location quotient tool, we’ve written about it in a blog called ‘How to understand your region’s competitive edge’.

At a glance analysis of the North Burnett economy

I have used the site to provide a quick analysis of the dominant and emerging industries in North Burnett. This should provide you an idea of the ‘target’ industries for investment attraction.

Be cautious of trying to focus investment attraction on one sector as this can limit your efforts. Instead looking at actions that would be attractive to a range of target industries may have a greater impact.

Dominant (largest)

The top 3 industries are Agriculture, Health Care and Social Assistance and Education and Training.

Video: How to identify dominant local industries in your area using

(Access the full directory of local economic profiles here)


The top industries at a more detailed level are (this provides more context about the dominant industries):

  • Agriculture (1,586) – looking at the Agricultural census, it shows that Cattle and calves livestock slaughtering and citrus fruit (mandarins) are the major commodities.
  • Preschool and School Education (351)
  • Metal Ore Mining (216)
  • Public Administration (212)
  • Residential Care Services (196)
  • Hospitals (182)
  • Building Cleaning, Pest Control and Other Support Services (179)

Emerging (largest change over last 5 years)

Largest growth was in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (+100), Mining (+76) and Health Care and Social Assistance (+75) and Administrative and Support Services (+71).

Video: How to identify emerging local industries in your area using


Largest growth at the detailed industry level:

  • Metal Ore Mining (+71)
  • Building Cleaning, Pest Control and Other Support Services (+59)
  • Residential Care Services (+46)
  • Heritage Activities (+44)
  • Adult, Community and Other Education (+39)
  • Medical and Other Health Care Services (+29)
  • Hospitals (+17)

Strengths (over-representation compared to the region)

See the location quotient page for the North Burnett Regional council here

Video: How to identify industries of relative local specialisation


Compared to regional QLD, North Burnett has an over-representation of employment in the following industries:

  • Agriculture
  • Metal Ore Mining
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Support Services
  • Wood Product Manufacturing
  • Heritage Activities
  • Building Cleaning, Pest Control and Other Support Services
  • Residential Care Services
  • Basic Material Wholesaling
  • Finance
  • Road Transport

(note: LQ>1.2 and employment > 50)

Compared to the RDA Wide Bay Burnett region, North Burnett has an over-representation of employment in the following industries:

  • Metal Ore Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Support Services
  • Building Cleaning, Pest Control and Other Support Services
  • Heritage Activities
  • Basic Material Wholesaling

Other insights based on experience working with similar Councils

Because of North Burnett’s smaller population (sub 15,000 people), its economic prosperity is generally linked to the performance of the dominant industry, and leadership of locals, businesses and institutions.

For example, Agriculture makes up around 33% of all jobs in North Burnett. Connections to larger regional cities are also important to future growth (transport connections and sharing of knowledge / supply chains). Leadership will also be important, especially given the low rates of school completion being achieved in the LGA.

More detailed options

I hope that helps get you started on building your evidence base for attracting investment to the North Burnett economy.

Contact us here if you would like to discuss a tailored economic consulting project where we can we provide more detailed insights into your region.