Supporting regional cities
THE Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack demonstrated his leadership by outlining his vision for regional Australia during his first speech at the National Press Gallery.
In a glowing endorsement Mr McCormack recognised the importance of regional capitals as: “Bustling, dynamic capitals…. big enough to find a good cup of coffee and they’re small enough to care.”
Regional capitals, he continued were “crying out for people to move there. More families. More activity, more jobs, and these communities are ready and willing to take them.”
And why wouldn’t Mr McCormack back regional capitals such as Horsham?
These capitals are equally as important to the regions are they are to nation; generating $260 billion in gross domestic product every year, home to 300,000 businesses while at the same time acting as regional hubs providing access to services and jobs for those living in smaller rural towns.
Regional capitals are also affordable, with the average house price in Horsham being $265,000, while in Melbourne it is over $900,000.
Regional capitals are very liveable ‘ten-minute’ cities where everything you could need – schools, shops, your work – is only ten minutes away from home.
Compare this to Infrastructure Victoria’s latest report claiming Melburnians are in for a five hour peak, spending 20 per cent of their commute on congested roads.
The other big metros will have to prepare for a nightmare commute in the future.
There can be no doubt that easing the squeeze of the big metros is a win-win.
New residents bring new skills and diversify the local economy and Australian businesses looking for an investable alternative to the exorbitant cost of doing business in big cities will bring new jobs and more opportunity.
It is high time governments of all levels recognised the potential of regional capitals such as Horsham and acted accordingly.
Growing regional capitals requires a shared plan between all levels of government, business and the community.
It also requires financial backing that moves beyond the occasional competitive grant programs that pick winners and losers.
Mr McCormack is correct in stating it will take political will to continue to think and act in the interest of those who live outside big metropolitan cities – the big city bias that exists in Canberra is deeply ingrained.
Regional Capitals Australia, the organisation I chair, will continue to encourage our leaders in Canberra to support the Deputy Prime Minister in backing regional capitals.
The truth is if we don’t act today, we will be looking at a less competitive and productive Australia which benefits no one.
Shane Van Styn, chairman, Regional Capitals Australia
THERE is always work to be done yet unemployed people cannot find a job.
The government finds these people work and requires them to work, but does not employ them. These workers remain unemployed.
Unemployed workers are the poorest of paid workers. For them, there is no minimum wage, no sick or annual leave, no superannuation, no union or legal representation and very little choice.
If an unemployed worker doesn’t make it to work, unemployment benefits are stopped.
As well as being the poorest paid, these workers are constantly threatened with other consequences.
I hear it on the radio every day – debt, eviction, couch surfing, homelessness, hunger, various forms of abuse and physical and mental illness.
Crime, prostitution and suicide are seen as all real alternatives to destitution; alcohol and street drugs the reliable painkillers.
I ask our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, how many single mothers have resorted to prostitution to feed their children?
The government is now wanting to test unemployed workers for alcohol and drugs under the threat of controlling where their benefit is spent.
Elsewhere in the world, mature nations are trialling a minimum income for everyone.
I struggle to not call unemployed workers slaves. I just failed at that once again.
Dear Mr Turnbull, since there is work to be done please give unemployed people jobs, dignity and security.
I believe doing so would be cheaper, save lives and win votes.
Graeme Singh, Noradjuha