Developing Australia's Regions: Theory and Practice by Andrew Beer

By Andrew Beer

Delves at the back of the too-often destructive media headlines and stereotypes approximately local Australia, and considers the genuine nation of Australia's areas, together with metropolitan areas, and what will be performed to enhance their fiscal, social and environmental health and wellbeing.

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The long-term growth of regions and localities reflects their intrinsic strengths — the capacity of their labour force, their natural resource endowments, their inventiveness, their ability to take advantage of world markets — and local and regional development programs need to capitalise on existing competencies and generate new abilities. Economic development agencies have choices in how they pursue these strategies and need to tailor their actions to local circumstances. In many ways the theory of local and regional economic development is far less problematic than its implementation: making the theory work and developing strategies that are appropriate for each nation, region, town and remote settlement is the greater challenge.

9 In theory at least, addressing these problems should open the floodgates to growth. Improving the skills of the workforce is a commonly used strategy to enhance profitability. The Federal government’s Area Consultative Committees (ACCs) focus almost entirely on programs that will generate a labour force with skills that match the needs of local employers and potential employers. Their efforts include the general provision of training — such as Information Technology skills, support for apprenticeships and labour force planning — as well as work placements for the unemployed and those entering the labour force.

Fifth, there is always another region or place willing to bid more. Companies likely to be swayed by incentives know no loyalty: in 1998 the South Australian government proudly announced an assistance package of approximately $5 million that secured the Berri Fruit Juice processing plant in the Riverland. Two weeks later, the Victorian government announced that the headquarters of the same company would be moving from Adelaide to Melbourne. 27 Why it persists, and even thrives, will be discussed in Chapter 7, but it is sufficient for the moment to recognise its failure to fade away.

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