Rural and Remote communities Australia wide, are facing their greatest
challenge since the great depression of the 1930s.
The advent of globalisation and the removal of tariff protection in the
late 1980s have required Australian industry to rethink their strategies
towards economic diversity, productivity and viability. No longer can
Australia linger in the "hazy days" of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s,
where virtually the only industry was primary production and we as
Australians, accepted readily the lifestyle of "living off the sheep’s
With live sheep and beef exports in the 1980s and with the imposition
of a wool stockpile, Australia's standing within the world primary
production market is diminishing. This is particularly evident in the
sheep industry where the cost of production outweighs the benefits or
profits obtained from this market. As such, many graziers are currently
opting out of the sheep industry for the beef industry, which is currently
experiencing a growth through expanded world markets. However, as more and
more graziers opt for this market it too will become "saturated"
and diminished profits from over supply will eventuate.
Today’s economy therefore must rely heavily upon a revitalised
manufacturing industry; the further development of natural resources eg
minerals, oil and gas supplies; the further advancement of technology and
chemistry; coupled with improved tourism opportunities.
Most of these developments have been established in regional or
metropolitan Australia based purely on efficiency and production cost
As such, rural and remote Australia has been experiencing an economic
decline over the last decade which has seen a huge population decrease and
the removal of support services including government facilities, banks
The introduction of the Hilmer Report in the 1980s, and the
implementation of the National Competition policy, places further burdens
on rural and remote communities to ensure that they too, compete openly
with other local authorities and private enterprise in the delivery of
services, while still trying to redress a diminishing local economy.
The challenge therefore, for rural and isolated communities, is to
galvanise our communities to at least sustain current population. To seek
new and /or alternative markets, industry, to establish tourism potential
where appropriate, and to explore other avenues for economic development
or niche enterprises.
Social Exclusion in Rural and Remote Communities
Social exclusion is experienced in rural and remote communities through
the following: -
- Population drift
- Depressed local economy
- Small population base
- Lack of employment opportunities
- Market failure
In rural and remote towns, local Councils and Community Organisations
are very concerned at the decline of their towns.
This decline has not only been in their economic wealth but also the
employment prospects and the associated population drift – especially
for their young people.
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