Saturday, December 15, 2018

Current State and Federal policies may rip New England apart beyond repair

My slow posting reflects my personal preoccupations. The problem is that while I have been preoccupied, issues have arisen, decisions are being made, that will adversely affect New England. In each case the adverse affects come from the simple fact that people don't recognise our existence. To illustrate this, I thought that I would simply list a few examples without great detail.

A few things to remember in considering the examples I will be citing:
  • The broader new England does have its own identity and geographic validity. But because we don't exist, no statistics are collected, we don't appear as an entity in policy making.
  • In economic and geographic terms, New England is being ripped apart by the growth of the South-east Queensland conurbation in the north, the growth of Sydney and Canberra with its spillover affects in the south. 
  • The definitions used for policy making and statistical terms, regional is an example, act to smash our attempts to create identity and to overcome long term structural decline. 
  • The longer this process goes on, the harder it is to recover.
Now for my brief points. I will give links later.

When you look at the Commonwealth Government's regional university initiative, it is concentrated in the outer metro rim and South Eastern NSW. There is almost nothing for New England.

When you look at the the NSW Government's regional development and tourism strategies, they have a bias towards Southern NSW.

When you consider the discussion on infrastructure, the focus is on metros or links between the metros. There is very little that will benefit New England

When you consider the new discussion on migration and decentralisation policy, not only is there little recognition of the history decentralisation policy, but the discussion focuses on growing the metro rim to abosrb more people. They talk about state based migration policies, but that won't help us because me have no state. The question of achieving better population balance within New England does not come up because New England does not exist.

While I have been absorbed on other things, the policy discussion has taken off in ways that will leave us worse off.        


Unknown said...

New England: the region that halted the New State Movements of my youth in order to avoid inclusion of Newcastle.

New England, the electorate that installed Barnaby Joyce in Federal Parliament - we all know where that has being headed.

Mate, we all love you and some of us visit, even often, but what about that chip on your shoulder? Maybe lighten up a little?

Jim Belshaw said...

Morning, John, and thanks for the comment.

When I use the term New England I mean the broader North from lake Macquarie to the border, not just the The New England, the Tablelands, nor what is now called the New England and North West. Each part has its own issues cf what's happened with the Port of Newcastle Each part also suffers because existing systems fragment, destroying linkages and concealing One example is the way that the discussion and decision on the Newcastle port totally ignored the implications for the rest of the North. A second example is the incoherence in tourism marketing over many many many decades as exemplified by the two brands, brand Sydney and the rest of NSW. The North gets submerged; there is no recognition of a brand New England or brand North. A third example is the absence of any NE focus in the immigration discussions.

We narrowly lost the 1967 plebiscite on the votes of the southern industrial and coal field electorates plus the southern dairying electorates concerned that they might lose their preferential access to the Sydney milk market, an access that they quickly lost anyway.

Following the plebiscite, the Movement redrew the boundaries to exclude the no areas and then decided to run candidates against sitting Country Party members, subsequently collapsing through exhaustion and local infighting. Boundaries remain a contentious issue. My use the Nicholas boundaries because they best capture at this point the the geographic unity. An alternative formulation which I also use in my historical writing is the Tablelands and surrounding river valleys to the north, south, east and west because this does form a natural geographical unit.

I do think that inland New England has become more parochial and inward looking over the last five decades. It's not along in that, of course, adding to fragmentation and reducing cooperation across areas,

You spoke of the chip on my shoulder. In all fairness, it's better described as a great big plank! It's not pleasant to map and analyse the structural decline of a broader area that I love and have in one way or another worked for for so many decades. My particular concern at present is the way in which critical decisions are being discussed with no recognition of or analysis of the way they might affect New England.

Jack Arnold said...

Jim, there is little chance that these parameters you correctly identify will be changed under any Liarbral Notional$ NSW or Federal misgovernment.

The hard numbers fact is that the number of voters in Tamworth is about half the electorate, and other communities have insufficient interested persons to drive any political change.

While the Adulterer-in-Chief for the Notional$, Barnyard Joke, is accepted for his Notional$ 'family values" of Adultery, Alcoholism, Avarice, Bigotry, Misogyny, Philandering, & Racism by the women of Tamworth, there will be title change. Indeed, an ordinary person could reasonably conclude that Tamworth is the Country Adultery Capital

Jim Belshaw said...

Evening, John. My problem, I guess, is that I know of no evidence that labor or indeed the independents recognise the type of concerns I am raising. and i don't know how to get the message across.