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Report seeks to remedy lack of infrastructure.

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10 MARCH 2000


People in the country were feeling that their contribution to the nation's economy was going unrecognised.

"The Federal Government is being asked to recognise the needs of rural town and country people and develop strategies and priorities to provide the infrastructure to stimulate their economies."

Dick Adams, the Federal Member for Lyons and Deputy Chair of the Primary Industry Committee, was commenting today on the release of the report " Time running out: Shaping Regional Australia's Future".

"The committee was asked to look at barriers to as well as the potential for development in regions.

"Barriers included poor communications, limited access to transport, health and education, no funding for infrastructure, particularly for water and lack of leadership.

"It comes down to one critical fact and that is without all levels of Government being involved in providing assistance for infrastructure, it will not happen. Without one common driver overall, the Commonwealth Government, it will not happen.

"If a Government is serious about improving the lot of the regions, it has to be hands on."

Mr Adams went on to say that competition policy had not served the rural and isolated regions well. By privatising services and infrastructure development, it had simply removed them.

"Once workers were laid off, there is no-one to take up the work in the rural private sector because they have already moved on. The whole thing dies."

Mr Adams said there was a lot of energy and expertise out there in rural regions, it was now up to Governments to stimulate activity to lay the ground work for renewal.

"Time is running out for the regions, there is a point of no return in many areas already reached, we must act now to help regions to survive and rebuild. I believe this report starts to point the way forward."

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