26 February 2007

Outback 'ungoverned'

Tucked away on p 7 of today's printed Australian but not, as far as I can tell, online, is an article by Victoria Laurie reporting a speech given on Saturday by former WA governor John Sanderson to the Order of Australia Association. He drew attention to governance problems in the outback, and the report quotes him as saying:

A large part of this continent is increasingly neglected and, for a significant number of our rural people, governance is weak and intangible...Government is receding from the country to what I describe as pockets of indulgence and indifference in the southeast and southwest corners. Over the past three or four decades, possibly as a consequence of market forces, we have seen a steady withdrawal of the presence of both the public and the private sector from the remote regions of the continent.

Some of this is in code (eg for "significant number of our rural people" read aboriginals) but, as a regular traveller to some of the regions he mentions, I agree that the matter should be raised and debated. The government is always banging on, often with good reason, about Australia's security, yet doesn't seem to realise that it is important to secure our own territory. Weak and intangible governance throughout much of inland and northern Australia is a major security risk.

PS Today another report Dropping Off The Edge: the distribution of disadvantage in Australia has been released. It identifies the most disadvantaged areas in Australia, several of which eg East Kimberley (WA) and Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands (SA), meet Mr Sanderson's criteria.(Today's Australian has a story about this on p3 but once again it's not online).

1 comment:

Miss Eagle said...

Thank you for this post. I will be referencing your post over at The Eagle's Nest. Be it ever so humble and of Davidic proportions against Goliath, I am indulging in a bit of a campaign against poor governance at state and federal levels. You may like to continue such an interest on your blog and then there will be two.