Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Italy - the lessons for Australia's regions

Graphic: Italy 1796.

David Anderson had a rather good post, Understanding Italy - Nobility, wines, food and jeans, on his View Italy blog, drawing out the sometimes chaotic nature of Italian history and the way that had affected Italian life and culture, creating still treasured regional variations.

To David, these variations are to be savoured and enjoyed.

There is a lesson in this for Australia's regions, one that I have referred to before, the failure of many of our regions to properly capture and present their own regional stories.

I am not sure why this should be so, but it is. I remember chairing a session at which a mayor spoke of his town. He was, understandably, proud of its achievements. But the presentation failed because he could not get beyond municipal bounds.

This town has a great life style story when couched in broader terms, bringing out its history and regional place. All this was lost in a narrow focus on roads, bridges and parks. The sizzle was gone. Even the steak was partly missing.

Perhaps part of the problem lies in the fact that too many town and regions try to compete with the metros, defining themselves in comparison, instead of focusing on their own unique stories.

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