News

Regional areas in decline

DRIVING from Ballina to Grafton on the ramshackle Pacific Hwy was just one example of the State Government's neglect of regional areas, according to Newcastle economics Professor Bill Mitchell.

At the Clarence Valley Community Unions Forum at Grafton District Services Club on Wednesday night, Prof Mitchell presented a report commissioned by the Public Sector Union into the impact of the Government's service reduction and staff cuts.

The Clarence Valley was chosen as the first of many regional areas across the state to hear the findings of the report and a crowd of 100 gathered to listen.

"I was shocked to drive from Ballina to here," Prof Mitchell said.

"I thought it would be divided road and instead we were sitting on 50 and I just said to myself 'In an allegedly sophisticated country like Australia on a main arterial route between our capital cities, it's atrocious, we have the conditions we had 40 years ago."

The thrust of the argument was that the public sector should not be treated like the private sector as it was not there to make money but to provide services.

Prof Mitchell said proponents argued in favour of privatisation because it was more cost-effective and less risky.

"But not when the private sector firm goes broke and it's running the hospital, what happens then..." Prof Mitchell said.

"It's the hospital for goodness sakes, who picks up the pieces?"

He said the impact of job losses in regional areas had multiplier effects.

"When a worker loses their income they stop spending," he said.

"(Businesses) start laying off workers, that's the multiplier effect and that spills over into neighbouring regions.

"As the labour market contracts you get outward migration and the high-skilled people leave the region and you start losing the youth of the region.

"Then you get a decline of essential services."

Prof Mitchell argued the public sector actually needs to, and would, expand in coming years, especially in the areas of health care and environment.

Employment statistics were shared at the forum, which raised some eyebrows, showing the shocking rate of workforce "participation" in the North Coast.

Unemployment has fallen as well as the number of people over 15 years of age willing and able to work.

"We observe when we are going into economic slowdown, unfilled vacancies start to fall and people, to protect their self- esteem drop out of the labour force," Prof Mitchell said.

Some criticism was levelled at the forum via The Daily Examiner website yesterday, with some users arguing it seemed like a recruitment drive for the unions.

Toward the end of Wednesday night's meeting Tony King from Clarence Valley Community Unions said the idea was to have a committee to map out a plan for the whole Valley.

"Unlike governments and politicians, they might not consult, but we will consult," Mr King said.

"This is about getting a plan for the Clarence Valley so we can give it to the politicians.

"We're in this together as a community and it's about us telling them what we want."

 

EMPLOYMENT

  • Local unemployment higher than state average
  • Employment participation in state and nation is 65%
  • Employment participation in the Northern Rivers has gone from 56% to 52%

Topics:  grafton, state government



Big October approaching for bowls

SPRING BOWLS: The greens will be packed as October promises a big month of bowls.

October to heat up the greens.

Taste of the Caldera can be found in a glass of rum

Paul Messenger hand cuts the sugar cane to make Husk Distillers Rum.

This Tweed distiller is on the cutting edge of innovation.

Blood thicker than water for ex-Shark Wheeler

Mal Wheeler will be cheering son-in-law Blair on in Sunday's grand final. Blair is pictured scoring a try against Canberra in last weekend's preliminary final.

I have my shirt and beanie and they're both purple.

Local Partners

Janet Jackson's pregnancy is 'best thing'

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson can't wait to become a mum

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E7: Manifest review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E6: Suckas Need Bodyguards review

Rosario Dawson and Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E5: Just To Get A Rep review

Mahershala Ali, centre, in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

Penthouse in beach paradise

Take in the beach front views from the balcony of 701/ 4-10 Douglas Street, Kirra.

This beachfront penthouse is the perfect place to enjoy the views.

Casuarina sets the benchmark in Tweed market

Our property market is as strong as it's been since the crisis

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record