Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Friday, October 03, 2008

Need for a new approach to regional development in Australia

I try to avoid overt campaigning or political comment on this blog because it risks detracting from the blog's primary purpose, the promotion of the joy and variety of life outside the metros. However, I now feel obliged to make an exception to this rule.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics population projections suggest a continued drift to the metros. At 30 June 2007, 64% of Australians lived in a capital city. By 2056 this proportion is projected to increase to 67%.

I think that this is absurd. We have many areas of Australia that can not only absorb new people, but need them.

The metro drift has deep historical roots. The process has always been reinforcing. To those that have shall be given.

We need to break this cycle. Yet our capacity to do so seems always limited, condemned to a bitsy, ad hoc approach.

Just at present the current global economic crisis has led to calls for new infrastructure spending, something that I support. However, there is a very real risk that this increased spend will end up dominated by metro needs.

This holds even where spend itself is outside metro areas. An example is coastal highways linking metro centres.

Most people who visit this blog come because they have particular information needs. This means that the number of repeat visitors (the type of people who usually comment) is small. Still, I would be very interested in ideas as to what might be done to turn things round.

I would be especially interested in ideas at local or regional level. What do you need to improve your local situation?

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