Greens candidate says we need to rethink decentralisation
WHEN candidates were asked for their plans for decentralisation and regionalisation at last week's candidates forum, one candidate said that in short, he had no plan.
NSW Greens candidate for Clarence, Greg Clancy, is wary of plans by his fellow candidates to grow the Clarence Valley by attracting more industry to the region and said any attempts to do so could harm the lifestyle and ecosystems unique to the area.
"The problem is our economic system is based around growth, but you can't have indefinite growth in a world with finite resources," he said.
"We need to focus on holding on to what we have and traditionally do well in, rather than decentralising large industries which could bring major problems associated with pollution."
Dr Clancy made it clear he did not want to stop people coming to the area, acknowledging that he himself moved here for the lifestyle, but the community needed to think about the ramifications of trying to grow the region.
"There may be short-term economic gains for builders but endless growth puts pressure on infrastructure, can change a region's identity and increases the risk of environmental problems," he said.
Decentralisation had a poor history in Australia according to a paper by the Grattan Institute, and most attempts at encouraging industry and growth out of the cities to the regions had been ineffective, despite the increased government spending.
"It's fine for people to say we need to decentralise and bring people here but it's not that simple, it has been tried many times in Australia and it has failed," said Dr Clancy
"Governments have been very good at subsidising industries that aren't viable and we have to stop that and encourage economic and environmentally sustainable industries.
"Here in the Clarence it the small businesses we need to look after and we need to fight to stop agencies and businesses moving to Coffs Harbour."
Planning for growth was something Sustainable Australia Party president and upper house candidate, William Bourke, was similarly interested in and he said continuous population growth was simply unsustainable.
"More people means economic strength, but it taxes the environment.
"And our environment provides our real economic strength.
"We need to transition away from the 'bigger is better' model of economic development."
Discussion over population growth was something Dr Clancy says should be happening at both a government and community level and people should not be afraid to talk about it.
"Population is the elephant in the room.
"We need to manage population growth and use science, not rhetoric, as the basis for our decision making."
Who will you vote for in the seat of Clarence at the 2019 NSW Election?
This poll ended on 22 March 2019.
STEVE CANSDELL - Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
GREG CLANCY - Greens
TRENT GILBERT - Labor
CHRIS GULAPTIS - Nationals
THOM KOTIS - Sustainable Australia
DEBRAH NOVAK - Independent
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.