Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Maps show the administrative simplicity of New England self-government

One of the common objections raised to those of us who want self-government for the broader New England is administrative complexity. Wouldn't the creation of a new state structure be complicated? Well, no, and to illustrate here are two maps.

The first map shows the distribution of land services boundaries in the North. The Hunter, North West, Northern Tablelands and North Coast Districts cover most of the traditional new state territory.

Land Service Map 2

The next mao shows the health and human services boundaries, Again, the same broad pattern, in this case with three divisions, Hunter New England, Mid North Coast and Northern NSW. Most if not all of the administrative divisions display the same pattern, a pattern dictated by geography.

Health District Map 2

All this makes self government relatively easy to achieve in administrative terms, although there would be adjustments at the southern and western boundary edges, All that is required is the re-grouping of existing administrative units.

If he boundaries already reflect geography, does this weaken the new state case/ Not at all, Under the present system, most of those units finally headquarter in Sydney. Each of them is run as isolated entities within central frameworks dictated by NSW. They do interact, but only through head office. Despite what is sometimes called localisation, their decision making power is very limited, nor is there any mechanism for addressing common Northern concerns. From a Northern perspective, fragmentation rules.

The next time someone says how hard it would be in administrative terms to break up the NSW system say no, the existing administrative units whether in health or education or land management already reflect the basic geography of New England.

We want to reform the system by regrouping all the existing and often varying administrative units within New England together so that they can work more effectively together in meeting New England needs.From the viewpoint of the ordinary public servant in New England, their basic job won't change.  What will change is their ability to work with colleagues across regions, to do new things in as simpler world.

If you don't think that that's attractive, have a chat to any of the local staff trying to cope in the world of the NSW mega-departments, trying to deal with roles and systems created far away! Self-government would give us an opportunity to simplify things, to focus, to do their jobs more easily.       


Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know what normal people think about it.I understand that the new state could be better administered but is this a general perception of the citizens? The change would be to also for them after all.

Scott Hastings said...

Anon, most people even in the heartland have never even heard of the New State Movement, and most of those who have think of it as a historical event decades ago. What is there, is a deep and growing anger at the maladministration of New England and very high unemployment. This rage quite palpable in the coastal cities, reflected in all the irritable people you meet as you go about town. Coffs Harbour for example would jump at the chance to be part of New England, hell even part of Outer Mongolia, anywhere but Sydney.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi Ac. Yes, self-government would be to the benefit of all and we do think of that. We have been thinking of that for over 150 years. But we have to focus arguments so that people will understand.

Scott is right too that many people in New England - there are hundreds of thousands of newcomers - who do not know or do not remember the earlier fight that peaked in 1967. They are dissatisfied, but do not see a way out. Our history has been lost and so have the dreaming possibilities that accompanied it.

One of the reasons that I write in the way that I do is that I am trying to being back our past, to recreate the dreams that once gave us so much. Many New Englanders now just feel helpless.