The Weekly Advertiser

EDITORIAL | Progress: It is all about people

Dean Lawson editorial 2 2017

“People walk, people fly, people sing, people sigh;
“People lose, people try, hurt people cry, people live, people die;
“People laugh – ha, ha ha!”
– ‘People’ by Mi-Sex, 1980.

A need to find a way to stimulate population growth continues to glow as the fundamental priority for regional progress.
It became obvious during think-tank discussions at a Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Assembly in Horsham that when it was all said and done, development was all about people.
Most worthwhile ideas and concepts or issues identified at the assembly either had their foundation based on, or came back to, attracting more people to the region.
What was also obvious was that the need went beyond addressing population drift by simply maintaining the numbers of people we have in the region. There needed to be consistent population growth.
The anecdotal finding, perhaps unlike some of the other fascinating ideas bubbling away in the minds of our region’s most creative thinkers, was far from a revelation.
For many years governing bodies, some fearful of the implications of Melbourne’s urban sprawl and others in the regions keen to provide spark into their communities, have tried to tackle the issue.
They have come up with all sorts of programs, projects and promotions to encourage people to consider shifting from ‘the big smoke’ to the regions.
But the idea remains a tough assignment. History bluntly tells us that it has mainly been the prospect of financial security or fortune that has driven regional population growth in the past.
This means we can’t expect a large amount of people to come to fill up our cities, towns, clubs and schools and to generate growth in services because we can provide a pleasant lifestyle.
While it is a legitimate incentive, it’s simply not enough.
What we need in our part of the world, if we needed reminding, is opportunities to establish industries that require onsite manpower and human skills and ingenuity.
Farming, to a large extent, previously filled this role but times have changed. It’s the processing stage of the chain, the step after creating the raw product, that generates jobs and in turn population growth.
And there’s the challenge. We need to continually keep our doors open, or make sure the powers that be help keep them open, so we can exploit opportunities.
While the assembly discussion was open to big-sky concepts, this is far from one of them.
We only need to consider successful electrical manufacturing firm AME Systems in Ararat to understand how processing-based firms can flourish and provide a stimulant in our part of the world.

The entire August 9, 2017 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Aug 8 2017

Posted by on Aug 8 2017. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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