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Title: The Future of Regional Australia: Change on Our Terms
Contributor(s): Sorensen, Anthony (author)orcid ; Regional Australia Institute, (author)
Corporate Author: Regional Australia Institute
Publication Date: 2015
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Abstract: Government has diminishing control over the factors that shape Australia's regions. Such factors include the global economy, technological change, the environment and population. These factors are growing in complexity and unpredictability placing great pressure on traditional social and economic constructs. In such a setting, the past becomes less reliable in predicting the future. The challenge of the future will be to keep pace with the accelerating speed of change. Australia's regions are increasingly exposed to global market volatility. Regions must continually monitor market shifts to stay ahead of the game. Technology has the capacity to dramatically increase efficiency, competitiveness and change how society operates. The impact of technology on the regions will vary. Economic drivers will shape who lives in regional Australia, what they are seeking and where they will go next. The challenge for regions is to understand the impacts on their future population, workforce and growth opportunities. Natural resources are vital for securing economic growth and development. The struggle over economic use of natural resources plays out most intensely in regional Australia. The challenge is not to develop certainty over what long-term sustainable resource use might be. All tiers of government have a role in shaping regional circumstances, attitudes and outcomes. Regrettably, over the past four decades public sector processes have failed to reduce the disadvantages evident in regional Australia - despite a booming economy and a rising quality of life across the nation as a whole. The task for current and future generations of Australians is to acknowledge these difficulties and then move to develop and implement new government processes that produce better regional outcomes. Regions are best placed to understand and secure their own interests. They are their own greatest vehicle of change and future well-being. To prosper into the future we need to shift our thinking on what matters to regions. The economic, social and environmental situation for our regions will undoubtedly evolve. Exactly how this will transpire and what it means for regions is uncertain. What is certain, however, is that this change and accelerating rate of change is expected to continue. This involves adjusting beliefs, aspirations and behaviours towards greater self-reliance and the acquisition of sufficient knowledge and skills for success. Regional development needs to transition from a focus on singular planned futures to one that acknowledges uncertainty and considers a range of possible futures. Regions will need flexibility and freedoms to take action for their own particular circumstances. Top down prescriptions for regional activities is likely to result in a lost opportunity for regions to forge their own future and an exacerbation of risk. The question for regional policy is not whether we would prefer the world to be different and how we prevent change from disrupting our practices. The question is, how do we position ourselves to achieve change on our own terms?
Publication Type: Report
Publisher: Regional Australia Institute
Place of Publication: Canberra, Australia
Field of Research (FOR): 160404 Urban and Regional Studies (excl. Planning)
140218 Urban and Regional Economics
160401 Economic Geography
HERDC Category Description: R3 Commissioned Report
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Series Name: Regional Australia Institute Discussion Paper
Extent of Pages: 25
Statistics to Oct 2018: Visitors: 35
Views: 196
Downloads: 2
Appears in Collections:Report

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