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



Tweed 'a disgrace' after three-day traffic blitz

One truck driver hauling a large excavator was charged with mid-range drink-driving and driving unlicenced during a police operation.

Driver's on drugs and drink targeted in crackdown

Tweed achieves green status with top awards

TOP MARKS: Fingal Head Coastcare member Kay Bolton, Councillor Ron Cooper and Tweed/Byron Aboriginal Land Council CEO Leweena Williams celebrate their respective Blue Star Sustainability Awards.

Keeping Tweed beautiful with awards.

Why I dumped Gable Tostee as boyfriend

Gable Tostee's former girlfriend Lizzi Evans.

"We had hoped to begin a new chapter of life..."

Local Partners

One public transport system on way

A solution's in sight for frustrated Tweed public transport users who are currently forced to use two different ticketing systems.


Man builds playground entirely out of packing tape

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

VIDEO:And here's where you can play on it.

Cooly sings out for carols

Santa gets ready to skydive into the Coolangatta Christmas Carols on Sunday, December 13. Photo: Scott Powick Daily News

Santa dropping in for Christmas Carols at Coolangatta

Countdown to Woodford Folk Festival begins

ECONOMIC BOON: Woodford Folk Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.  Photo Contributed

The first larger-than-life inhabitants have stepped into Woodfordia

Paris Hilton fumes at clumsy partygoers

A reveller spilt their drink on Paris Hilton's DJ decks

Winnie Harlow isn't a role model

Winnie Harlow insists she isn't a role model.

Felicity Jones proud of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story role

Felicity Jones feels it is "important" for a woman to head Rogue One

Kiwi's plea to Ellen DeGeneres to save bakery after quake

Ellen... we need your magic.

Family had to be helicoptered out after powerful quake

Seacrest: Things are "going better" for Kim and Kanye

Ryan Seacrest says things are "going better now" for Kanye West

Jonah Hill involved in a car accident

Jonah Hill was involved in a car crash on Saturday

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!