Ash Salardini, general manager, trade and chief economist at the National Farmers’ Federation argues the case for regionalisation and decentralisation. He sees agriculture as a lynchpin to revitalise the regions and explains what he sees as the role of ports, shipping and freight.
The ongoing restrictions associated with the Coronavirus pandemic have demonstrated the significant risk posed by the absolute concentration of economic activity in our two major cities.
This shock has put the regionalisation agenda firmly back into the public spotlight, with rural industries, such as agriculture, largely shielding Australia from a much more severe economic malaise. The regionalisation agenda is no longer just nice to have, it is imperative to ensuring a robust and resilient Australian economy.
Agriculture can be the linchpin industry for this regionalisation agenda. Noting agriculture’s heavy reliance on exports, the state of our ports, shipping services and land-freight systems will largely determine whether this ambitious regionalisation agenda will come to fruition.
The reinvigoration of the Regional Deals framework can be the catalyst to ensure success of the regionalisation agenda by coordinating industry, local, State and Federal planning processes, regulatory reforms and infrastructure investments that will remove barriers to regional development.