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Policies for the future of regional Australia

  • Year: 2004
  • Author: Collits P.
  • Journal Name: European Planning Studies
  • Journal Number: Vol.12, No.1
  • Country: Australia

...the rift between country and city is wider than at any time in the last 150 years. The rift is so wide that the return of rural and outback prosperity – if by chance it does return – will not quickly narrow the gap. For country grievances are not simply economic: the grievances are social and cultural. (Blainey, 2001)

Recently I was talking to a journalist about country Australia and he asked if I was afraid of One Nation. I replied no, I was not afraid of One Nation, the political entity, but I was afraid of Australia becoming two nations. (Anderson, 1999)

The article reviews perceptions of regional problems in Australia and opposing views of regional policy. It argues that regional conditions vary widely and that much of non‐metropolitan Australia is not in decline, casting doubt on the existence of a divide and on arguments that the divide can, and should, be addressed by government. The article also argues that views on policy reflect perceptions of the nature and causes of regional problems, and of the capacity and desirability of government being involved in shaping regional outcomes. Current regional policy approaches, characterized by 'pragmatic incrementalism', are outlined and explained.

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