Focused on Stronger Economies Outside Metropolitan Areas
Smart Thinking Promoting Economic, Social and Cultural Growth for Local Governments
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Addressing Economic and Technological Challenges Towards Regional Australia
State, National & Global Issues and their Local Impact
*photo credit: Guyra Argus We would like to know who would you like to see as the next Mayor of Armidale Regional Council! In 2017, when the ARC held a Secret Ballot, our poll showed that 22.4% of survey respondents preferred Ian Tiley as Mayor, 13.4…
September 2, 2019
In 2017, Janet Yellen, the then Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of America, which is arguably the most prominent and influential financial positions to be held by anyone throughout history, boldly stated that “another financial crisis no…
March 25, 2019
Investors of all flavours and stages of life are on the hunt for the elusive yield. With real cash returns bouncing around the now familiar low of only 1-1.5%, the drought of easy low-risk cash has driven the herds of mum and dad investors along with…
December 26, 2018
The last major economic crash of 2008 was caused by too much bad debt. Abnormally low-interest rates pushed down by the federal reserve in response to the dotcom crash created the perfect market for huge asset bubbles, and since faith was lost in the…
July 14, 2018
We’ve all experienced that moment when a business meeting, a dental appointment or a shopping trip took slightly longer than expected only to escape a while later to find a small white piece of paper sitting under the windscreen wipers of our c…
March 25, 2018
Not to blow my own trumpet… too much … in April last year, I was writing about how Australia was heading to a mortgage crisis. The issues that I saw unfolding were that politicians on both sides of the political fence had misplaced prior…
February 20, 2018
“The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite. Life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for…
January 23, 2018
As interest in politics by the general population rises, so does polarisation of the populous perspectives. As economic and social maladies grow, so does the interest in politics as men start to realise that utopia is growing further and further from…
December 18, 2017
‘The chance of gain is by every man more or less overvalued, and the chance of loss is by most men undervalued.’ – Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations. 2017 marked the year that Bitcoin, a virtual “cryptocurrency”, exploded in value with rece…
December 15, 2017
“Do not mortals have hard service on earth? Are not their days like those of hired labourers? Like a slave longing for the evening shadows, or a hired labourer waiting to be paid” -Job 7:1-2 New International Version More and more we’…
December 3, 2017
“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.” – John Kenneth Galbraith Abstract: The numbers are astronomical. The worldwide debt is beyond comprehension. The great ‘recovery’…
November 2, 2017
An abstract from an upcoming essay. The main problem with most economic theorists isn’t that they fail to produce plausible theories to continue infinite growth on a finite planet, it isn’t that so many of them promise wealth and riches …
November 1, 2017
It’s been some years since I seriously attempted to study software development in any degree of detail, however, I still remember vividly thinking “humans will never make a viable AI (artificial intelligence)”. Having a basic unders…
October 6, 2017
Vote for who you wanted to see as Mayor! Armidale Regional Council has just elected Cr Simon Murray (Independent) as Mayor for the newly formed Armidale Regional Council by secret ballot along with Dorothy Robinson (The Greens, NSW) as Deputy Mayor. …
October 5, 2017
“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.” Thomas Jefferson Democracy is projected by many as the pinup boy of a truly liberated society.…
September 16, 2017
Economic books are written throughout the times of prosperity and generally re-written after a crisis. Venezuela is no exception. For a while Politicians, Actors and Nobel prize-winning Economists alike praised Venezuela’s President Hugo Chav…
August 13, 2017
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*photo credit: Guyra Argus We would like to know who would you like to see as the next Mayor of Armidale Regional Council! In 2017…
September 2, 2019
In 2017, Janet Yellen, the then Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of America, which is arguably the most prominent and influe…
March 25, 2019
Over the past 2 years or so, I may have been described as a little on the bearish side… I know shocking! Especially when I t…
March 25, 2018
The recent Stockmarket turmoil that rocked the start of 2018, the causes of for which are still unknown, meant that although stock…
February 14, 2018
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The Economies of the Future
We live in a changing world where new threats both National and International in origin threaten our standard of living and the future of our regional communities. From globalisation to online sales, communities that aren’t forward thinking run the risk of being left behind. We’re a regional economic think-tank who’s goal is to see regional economies grow and prosper in light of these challenges.
Smart Thinking for Regional Areas
For too long our State and Federal Governments have been focused on growing the sprawling metropolitan areas with little thought, policies, and effort placed into ensuring that regional Australia isn’t left behind. Our goal is to lobby, think-through and come up with the ideas that ensure that regional centers have a fighting chance.
Backing Regional Local Governments
For a long time, too little effort has been placed on ensuring that local government candidates have the resources and expertise that they need to form good policies with local government in mind. Resulting in most local counsellors relying on hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on technocratic consultants who are only too often unaware of the local challenges. Our goal is to provide a platform to support, encourage and equip these local government counsellors with the tools and expertise they need to address the new unfolding challenges.
Smart Goals for Regional Rejuvenation the Armidale Case Study
New England Futures Group is a regionally based Think-Tank focused on the goal of seeing regional communities flourish. We believe that traditional business models are coming under new threats from technological, cultural and global developments with regional communities being most at risk. We believe that for regional centres to flourish, they need to be proactive in attracting businesses, residents, and investments to their region while at the same time as being nimble to the changing economic conditions in order to simply provide a future to later generations. We have used the Armidale Region as a case study.
Growing the Cultural Heart
We believe that the life and vibrancy of the town is tied to its CBD and small business health. Despite this, over the past number of years the Armidale Mall like many other regional community centres, has slowly been vacated. While there have been grass-roots organisations including Renew Newcastle, and Renew Adelaide that has successfully worked to revitalise cultural centres, we believe that the local government needs to be more proactive in attacking this problem from a top-down, infrastructure approach.While many factors may be contributing to poor CBD performance, we believe that the Armidale Mall in particular is met with a plethora of easily identifiable issues that inhibit private and community attempts to attract growth. Poor parking and lack of accessibility could be marked as one of the main contributing causes to poor Mall performance. While CBD aesthetics are of primary concern, we believe the best, immediate way to bring life back into Armidale’s mall, which many urban planners are now recognising, is to increase parking and pedestrian accessibility, while at the same time as extending certain parking allocation times to better cater to an aging population’s needs.
Promoting the Region’s Natural Assets
Local Government’s are typically judged on their ability to maintain and manage the core utilities and services. However, due to the changing demands placed on regional councils, the need has arisen for regional councils to diversify and expand their roles to assist in growing their regions. With tourism becoming a fast-growing sector of the Australian economy, the opportunity has arisen for regional councils to obtain incredible returns for their regions by actively promoting their regions natural beauty and culture. While many regional councils are now dedicating larger sections of their budgets to grow their marketing efforts, only too often the fundamentals of marketing end up being overlooked or simply ignored. The New England region is famous for its majestic waterfalls, rolling hills, autumn leaves, heritage buildings and a vast array of speciality shops, cafes and wineries. The Waterfall Way itself is recognised as one of the best tourist drives in Australia and is the most popular tourist drive in NSW. Despite this, we believe that the New England Region is under-promoted as a key tourist destination and better efforts need to be made to promote the region’s natural wonders. Our goal for the Armidale region is to see the council and the city start to promote their town for the key assets that they possess.
Promoting Local Council Accountability
Often decisions that elected representatives make are far from being representative of the wider community concerns or desires. The New England Futures Group see active community engagement, consultation and feedback as a key ingredient to any thriving regional community. With modern technology, there is little reason why councils can’t start building a model and a culture for regular community polling and consultation. The result is that more decisions, thoughts and community involvement are taken into consideration before implementing decisions that affect that community.For more information on how the New England Futures group can help your council and achieve greater community involvement, sign up to our monthly newsletter by clicking here.
Equipping Regional Councils for the Economy of Tomorrow
From globalisation to recent technological advances, local communities have never been under so much pressure to change and adapt in order to promote and grow prosperity and jobs for future generations.Despite this crucial time in history for businesses to be adapting and proactive, only too often Local, State and National government policies, hinder these efforts. At the New England Futures Group, we believe that a good Local Government, is one that continually seeks to promote, assist and above all, facilitate a healthy local business sector. In the Armidale region, for a long time poor local economic policy and attitudes have resulted in poor economic performance ultimately resulting in a decreasing number of locally registered businesses. The need has arisen for councils to be proactive, to open the gates to these business opportunities and sell the unique possibilities that this region offers making the most of the comparative advantages that their region has to offer.
Returning Tax Payer Dollars to the Region
Regional councils are often burdened with maintaining and upgrading infrastructure spread across large geographical areas, while having lower population bases than their metropolitan counterparts to address the tax burdens.This results in regional councils diverting funds away from other essential community programs. It is our goal to see that the local council works to attract all available grants and see that tax payer dollars are returned to the region. One of the practical steps that we will take to ensure this,, is to employ a dedicated council grants writer, a practice common for many local governments but one that previous Armidale councillors have not acted upon.
Capitalising on the Benefits of the NBN
The NBN provides many benefits to consumers and businesses alike. Not fully utilising this infrastructure will result in a local “trade-deficit” as consumers and businesses change their purchasing habits to use the infrastructure as a highway to cheaper products and services.Despite this, certain future orientated industries rely on this technology. Attracting and incentivising these industries is essential to ensuring the long-term economic growth of the New England Region.
Building Social Capital – Dedicated to Better Playgrounds
Parks and playgrounds have enormous potential to build social capital and a properly designed all-ages, all-abilities adventure playground would do more than just provide somewhere for children to play. It provides a meeting place, a place to catch up for coffee, to get to know other members of the community. Armidale has fallen behind many of its regional counterparts in the area of playgrounds and is missing out on the economic benefits of tourists seeing the town as an attractive stopover on long drives. Anyone who has ever travelled with children will understand the parental necessity of hunting down playgrounds at every stopping point! When families voluntarily drive to Tamworth, Uralla and Guyra to experience quality playgrounds, something has gone wrong locally. We believe in the need to build a state of the art, all-ages, all-ability adventure playground to harness the region’s physical assets and cater to the needs of all members of the community. A place to meet, play, socialise and feel part of something great.