The Weekly Advertiser

EDITORIAL: Opportunity beckons our towns

Dean Lawson Editorial Nov 2017

When it comes to our regional towns it is so easy to ease back into the cynics’ chair and sprout endless forecasts of doom and gloom.
Yes, we all know some of our satellite settlements across the Wimmera-Mallee are starting to resemble ghost towns – such is the nature of change and population drift away from rural areas.
But when it comes to innovation and progress, are our satellite centres and rural outposts all but dead and buried? Not from what we’re seeing.
In fact there is plenty to suggest there is not only an abundance of life, but also opportunity sitting under the surface of our towns that is waiting to emerge.
This might easily sound like overt and unsubstantiated rhetorical confidence, perhaps akin to flogging a long dead horse, but the signs are there.
A reinvigoration project underway at Rupanyup in the Wimmera’s east and a commercial brewery set to open in Rainbow on the back of a national motorsport event in the southern Mallee provides us with more than a hint that given opportunities, our small towns can remain productive, grow and even thrive.
It seems the key ingredient is people being willing to part the curtains of conservative thinking to explore potential, who are smart enough to identify opportunity and have the gumption to make things happen.
It’s people who are looking inwardly at their own communities asking ‘why?’ and following up with a defiant ‘why not?’ and attempting to take control of their own destiny who are providing the sparks of innovation.
These types of passionate people, if free of narrow agendas and open to help, partnerships, advice and criticism, and are confident and comfortable rubbing shoulders with bigwigs as well as the workers, tend to attract healthy attention. This attention in turn can lead to progress.
We have spoken plenty of times about a need to find ways of encouraging people back to the regions.
While we constantly and rightly ask faraway governments to understand our circumstances and come up with solutions, sometimes the ball sits in our own court.
Ideas generate projects, projects generate people power and people power generates population and community health and vibrancy.
We have to constantly ask ourselves – what is good about what we have and where we live, what assets can we exploit and, importantly, what would make circumstances better and how do we make it happen?
Little towns can have a big future. It is all about identifying potential or opportunity, unearthing a formula and making the most of what is in our own backyards.

The entire August 1, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Aug 1 2018

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