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EDITORIAL | Population shift ideas

Dean Lawson Editorial Nov 2017

A State Government allocation of almost half a million dollars to help Nhill Learning Centre connect migrants with potential employers in the region is welcome news.
Encouraging migrants to fill skill shortages and call the Wimmera home and providing help with that process makes a lot of sense.
It is money well justified that will be well spent. Hopefully the concept expands.
This is the type of project that needs to happen if the state is serious about tackling a lop-sided Victorian population spread.
But the truth is, it really only represents the tip of the iceberg of what should be happening and only part of a broader issue.
It seems ridiculous in a modern Victoria that we have anxiety about a growing mass of humanity clogging up Melbourne when the rest of the state is calling out for people.
Sorry to sound like a broken record, but something remains terribly amiss and needs a comprehensive repair job.
Encouraging people to look beyond the concrete and bitumen of metropolitan centres to set up new lives is all well and good in theory.
The reality is, it’s a big deal to uproot the family and leave the multitude of services and attractions on offer in a big city to relocate to the unknown of the sticks.
We know it’s good to live here but we also know that there are plenty of things we don’t have and do without.
The simple ‘great lifestyle’ message might be okay in encouraging some to move, but it holds little weight unless there are profound systems and processes and critically, opportunities, in place.
The Victorian Opposition has declared its hand in backing a concept of decentralisation, in whatever form that might mean.
Explanations of its fix-it plan are a tad shallow. We need some more details please.
The State Government’s funding for the migrant program has left us guessing on its stand.
It’s admitting regional populations are ageing and diminishing but seems preoccupied with what’s happing in Melbourne and its fringes.
Knock knock? Who’s there? Us!
What we know in our part of the world is that while telecommunications have reduced many of the tyrannies of distance, as people we seem to be getting further apart.
We need people and need plans to attract people. It’s as simple, and as complicated, as that.

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Posted on Aug 29 2018

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