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The Forum > Article Comments > A decentralised Australia? > Comments

A decentralised Australia? : Comments

By Bryan Kavanagh, published 13/7/2010

Decentralisation is clearly necessary if Australia is to unclog its capital cities and utilise the infrastructure available in the regions.

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Decentralisation, where have I heard that catchy tune before.

If I recall correctly from history lessons, this was the aim around the 1970's. (which is sooo last century), but then governments wanted to reduce costs and increase productivity and other feel good policies, so decentralisation went out the window.
Posted by JamesH, Tuesday, 13 July 2010 8:57:38 AM
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<< Decentralisation is clearly necessary if Australia to unclog its capital cities and utilise the infrastructure available in the regions. However, many people are beginning to wonder whether a bi-polar party-political system, funded to a large extent by vested interests, is any longer capable of acting in the best interests of the Australian people. >>

Bi-polar?? Mono-polar more like it - with both major parties towing pretty much identical political agendas.

Bryan, I am dismayed that you havent even mentioned the biggest factor that is clogging out capital cities rapid population growth.

With record-high immigration, an artificially boosted birthrate and a political paradigm that is based on continuous growth, wed have to be undertaking some really serious decentralisation in order to just stand still!

If Queensland is anything to go by, the vast majority of the desired decentralisation will NOT be to where it is needed. It will be to Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, etc, which are big enough and growing too rapidly as it is.

Id also be strongly against some currently small towns becoming much bigger, with their hinterlands being opened up to much more extensive and intensive agriculture, with all the environmental problems that that sort of thing creates.

But yes, to the extent of revitalising many small centres, Id agree that some decentralisation would be good. And Im sure that if the will was there, the right sort of financial incentives could be implemented to bring it off.
Posted by Ludwig, Tuesday, 13 July 2010 10:47:11 AM
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Bryan Kavanagh

Decentralizing implies loss of control.

No Government or, better, no dominant governing clique wishes to ease its control of the people they exploit
Posted by skeptic, Tuesday, 13 July 2010 10:49:18 AM
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The only large employer in Oz today is the public service, including all three levels,therefor the Victorian idea of moving large sections to the "bush" in the only way that decentralisation can work. It just needs to be taken further.

For true equity to exist, the actual expenditure in PS wages in each electorate should be equal. That is, the public servants should be spread through out the country.

There is no need, however, to ship actual people around the place, except for a few reasonably senior folk. If we start recruiting & employing country people, where they are, we could keep them in their area of origin, thus reduce the drift to the 5 cities. Done over 10 or 15 years, little dislocation of staff, or departments should result.

This would give local employment, with better prospects, & much higher incomes than currently available, in the regions. Local private business opportunities would increase, & some city PS types, interested in a tree change would probably drift to these areas.

As Ludwig says, there is no point in developing new large growth areas in places like Townsville, it is more growth in the little places which could be brought back to what they were, when agriculture was the largest employer that would help balance the country. It would be great to see businesses opening, rather than closing in our country towns.

Perhaps we could reduce the number of dying villages & towns, with elderly folk alone, & missing the support of their kids, who had to move to the cities.
Posted by Hasbeen, Tuesday, 13 July 2010 12:31:40 PM
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I suppose it depends on 'decentralised' you're talking about. Places like Ballarat and Bendigo are fast becoming overcrowded and the small town charm destroyed by greedy councillors and developers whilst small rural towns in areas like the mallee have been slowly dying for decades not only due to the 'city drift' of the young ones but also drought which has ravaged those areas furthermost from that green belt around the coast for the last ten plus years.

Breathing life into those small townships isn't easy. The only people who can afford to move there are those on welfare. There's no work for anybody else. And for anyone moving to one of these small rural towns, they soon learn that "small-town mentality" is alive and well. Families may be begrudgingly accepted because they sometimes prevent the local school from closing, but older people and singles are quickly made to feel very unwelcome, unless they're regarded as being of sufficiently high standard such as a doctor.

The locals make the tourist very welcome since it generates an income stream, but don't get fooled by the charm. Once you decide that's the little place you want to spend the rest of your days and move there, lookout! Many people have moved to small townships to get away from the city drudgery only to find themselves selling up and moving a year or so down the track.
Posted by Aime, Tuesday, 13 July 2010 2:28:40 PM
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Aimee I had noticed some of the things you raised years ago when travelling through some country towns in Victoria. By the way, does Yacandandah still exist and what happened with the Victorian Trust system with all of those elderly people residing in it; and no young ones to be seen? Twenty years ago I recall travelling through that quaint eerie although beautiful little town...
Posted by we are unique, Tuesday, 13 July 2010 10:40:37 PM
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