The strength of the regions lies in our connectedness
THERE is nowhere more innovative or agile than regional Australia. The strength of the regions lies in our connectedness. Our survival depends on building connections. Those living in rural communities know education, health and employment have to be addressed together, not in silos. For a regional policy to have legitimacy it needs the same approach; it must make connections in consultation with the communities it affects.
Communities across regional Australia know this. Now is the time to share this knowledge. Whether it is conversations around the kitchen table or the board table - the people in Indi have a voice and it will be heard by the Parliament.
The Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation want to know:
- What works in your community?
- What does there need to be more of?
- What roles do you see for State and Federal Governments?
There is a clear problem. For far too long the policy approach to regional Australia has been disjointed and implemented by departmental silos. Infrastructure investment has been limited by a grants-based approach, and the impact of government decisions on the regions has been given cursory attention. Policy has been developed on a “one size fits all” approach based on population density rather than economic impact, and long term investment to leverage innovation.
This needs to change. Regional policy needs to be central to the government policy because regional Australia is central is to making Australia work. It contributes one-third of our national output and is home to 8.8 million Australians – this means that regions provide employment for one in three working Australians. Regional Australia makes a significant contribution to the nation’s economy and is at the forefront of productivity in more than a third of our industries, including health care and logistics.
On 1 June the Government answered “yes” to my call to establish a national inquiry into regional development and decentralisation. This inquiry is about bringing skilled minds together to listen and learn on how regional development is being done in our own regions and across the world.
We will have a serious discussion about unlocking the potential for regional Australia and report back to the parliament on our learnings so this government and future governments can develop policies that truly make the most of the opportunities in regional Australia.
Go to cathymcgowan.com.au – make a submission and encourage others to do the same and help us join the dots.