REGION - Northern Grampians Shire Mayor, Cr Wayne Rice, is continuing his push to ensure issues that are vital to the future sustainability of the region as a whole remain firmly in the minds of federal politicians.
Cr Rice has spoken to several mayors throughout Western Victoria and has come up with a number of issues that can be raised as matters for resolution by a future Federal Government.
These issues are:
* Over population of the Eastern Seaboard. Money is required for building new infrastructure, land shortage for housing and other infrastructure.
* More support for small business.
* Redevelopment of the migration policy and how to stop the entry of non-processed, illegal immigrants.
* Cessation of cost shifting.
As well as raising the issues, Cr Rice has offered solutions to all four matters and said policies need to be developed on all issues as a matter of urgency.
"In order to slow down and stop the overcrowding of the Eastern Seaboard and to reduce the constant demand for new and expanded infrastructure and reduce the friction which is building between environmentalists, traditionalists, farmers and green wedge 'tree changers' the Federal Government needs to develop a policy of decentralisation," Cr Rice said.
"For decentralisation to work, there needs to be jobs for people to move to.
"Both Federal and State Governments have successfully closed rural offices and service departments in country towns and moved these offices and departments to the metropolitan area or regional centre. By returning these government departments to the rural areas, a flow on effect of job creation will occur.
"Country towns across Australia have infrastructure and services which are grossly underutilised and in many cases not used while the demand to build more freeways, tunnels, rail, bus and tram services grows."
Cr Rice said governments needed to provide more support for small businesses, rather than investing in industries that have a short life span.
“Australians have become accustomed to paying a taxation level which has carried the Australian vehicle manufacture industry for many years,” he said.
“It is known and accepted that within five to 10 years there will be no Australian vehicle manufacturing industry surviving. The money which is raised and has traditionally propped up the Australian vehicle manufacturing industry should be redirected to small business.
“By redirecting this money, we would not be propping up any one vulnerable business, but spreading investment across such a diverse range of industries that the Australian economy would not falter under the effects of climate, currency devaluation or increase, not be subject to risk of takeover by a multi-national company which could see future jobs lost or transferred to a cheaper producing overseas country.
“On line shopping is impacting hard on bricks and mortar, established outlets in Australia.
“Support for small business across Australia will place more children in our schools and create employment opportunities for teachers.
“Better utilisation of country hospitals will attract doctors, nurses and other allied health professionals, it will also attract police officers and local government employees.
“We must promote the need for better use of rail services, as benefits are realised that rail over long distances is more cost effective than road. There will also be demand for the return of passenger train services to once again fill our dilapidated rail stations.”
With regards to migration and cost shifting, Cr Rice said these issues needed strong attention.
“Illegal immigration is a front line issue for most developed countries across the globe,” he said.
“Australia’s problems by comparison are not big, however, they are real. By immediately returning illegal, non-processed immigrants to the country that they have paid top dollar to leave and then in return accept two processed, acceptable refugees this will put a natural end to illegal entry into Australia.
“Refugees could be supported to settle into country Australia therefore further driving the decentralisation issue. Past immigrants to Australia have settled well into country communities to the benefit of all Australians.
“The Federal Government should also lead the way by imposing a moratorium on cost sifting down to local government.
“The Federal Government collects the highest percentage of taxation of all three levels of government and should not be cost shifting to the lowest level of government and the lowest level of ability to raise the funds to maintain, operate these services.
“The Federal Government needs to review the level of service and if they decide that local government is best placed to service these business then they must adequately fund local government to do so and ‘Red Tape Reduction’ is essential.”