The Regional Australia Institute claims 30.2 per cent of Griffith jobs are highly vulnerable to redundancy due to automation.
The research conducted by the Institute for their Regional Job Automation Pack claims 3,809 jobs mostly consisting of sales assistants, food process workers, and general clerk positions could be made obsolete by machinery.
Also under the research an additional 37.1 per cent of jobs in Griffith 4,420, were classed as facing moderate vulnerability to automation including farmers, farm managers, packers, product assemblers, as well as farm forestry and garden workers.
Meanwhile 30.8 per cent of jobs in the city 3,809, were classed as being at a low vulnerability, with school teachers, midwifery, and nursing professionals facing low risk from machines.
The figures come after Griffith City Council launched its Griffith Now Hiring campaign last month.
Robert Pandolfo the owner of Mario’s Packhouse in Hanwood said that in Griffith’s citrus industry, the most vulnerable jobs to automation are in the packing houses mainly in the food handling positions filled by backpackers, as opposed to fruit picking jobs which Mr Pandolfo said are filled mostly by migrant workers and which are not at risk from automation.
“We’re automating all the time, our next project is putting in auto-stackers. When we first got our pack machines, a lady would pack 25 to 30 boxes and hour, a machine will do 250 boxes per hour,” Mr Padolfo said.
“The cost of labour it’s not high here, but high compared to other countries that we are competing against, our bulk of business is export, if you're just focusing on domestic that's not as critical.
“Our biggest competitors are South Africa they have very cheap labor and are in the southern hemisphere, if we didn't automate we just couldn't do it anymore, it’s turned into a high output low cost production is the only way we can keep up,” Mr Pandolfo said.
Griffith business chamber president Patt Pittavino agreed that international competition is driving the local process industry towards automation, however he does not believe new machinery will pose much risk to the almost 1000 jobs the council hopes to fill in Griffith by mid 2020.
“With the advent of the Murray Darling Basin plan, 40 per cent of the jobs in agriculture were lost in our region.Those jobs were then picked up in manufacturing,” Mr Pittavino said.
“We live in an area that is an exporter in the world, most of what is leaving Griffith is not for domestic consumption and you have got to remain competitive.
Mayor John Dal Broi said the expansion of Griffith producers into expanding Asian and European markets is creating large opportunity for producers to grow using automation, while water will remain the biggest issue facing local labour.
“In this region there will always be avenues for labour, especially in picking.”
DO YOU WANT MORE GRIFFITH NEWS?
Receive our free newsletter delivered to your inbox every Monday morning. Sign up here.