Copyright 2019 © Cecilia Moar - Authorised by Cecilia Moar, Horsham, Victoria

REGIONAL PLAN

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"A national strategic approach to harness the potential and capacity of Australia’s regions"

There is an urgent need for a national strategic approach to harness the potential and capacity of Australia’s regions. Nearly nine million people live in rural and regional Australia. Employing around one-third of Australia’s workforce, Australia’s regions produce approximately 40 per cent of the national economic output. There is an urgent need for a national strategic approach to harness the potential and capacity of Australia’s regions.

Through the Regions at the Ready Report, tabled in June 2018, the Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation called for greater public and private investment in regional infrastructure, a strategic decentralisation policy, and strengthening Regional Development Associations.

The Regions at the Ready Report was tabled in Federal Parliament on Wednesday 13 February 2019. As yet there is no commitment from the coalition Liberal-National government to put money in this year’s budget and no commitment to develop a policy framework. The Government's approach to regional Australia is demonstrably uncoordinated. An strong Independent voice for Mallee can ensure that the focus and resources of the Australian Parliament are directed towards strategy and planning for regional areas of Australia.

Strong rural economies need a strong agriculture sector and people, services, and infrastructure are critical to lifting agribusiness productivity and sustainable profitability. A strategic blueprint for the nation will ensure that spending on infrastructure upgrades is planned and coordinated to provide the most effective and efficient use of capital expenditure. There are many opportunities for collaborative projects across Victoria in building and upgrading infrastructure such as extending the capacity of runways and ports to create transport hubs from where regional produce can be shipped around the world.

The current lack of rain and the consequent toll on rural people and businesses in the Eastern states highlights the need for a comprehensive drought policy for Australia. Drought preparedness measures are a sound investment for business, community, family and mental health. Writing the guidelines for drought assistance during the good seasons and sticking to them during the dry times ensures that good managers are supported to prepare for the forecast increased frequency and duration of future droughts. Drought preparedness measures are a better investment for business, community, family and mental health.