This morning I listened to a couple of interviews on local ABC radio.
The first was with a representative of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce. The second interview was with a local union representative (from the AWU). The context for the discussion was the global economic downturn. How may it affect Far North Queensland? What can we do to keep our region’s economy afloat?
Both contributors, I have no doubt, are nice well-meaning people. But what struck me was the utterly vacuous nature of their analyses and proposals. As business is the base of the Coalition Parties – and organized labor the bedrock of the ALP – our apparent inability to take swift, intelligent, interventionist action for our future benefit becomes explicable.
If our local political elites had half a brain, they’d be busting with proposals for significant Federal investment in this region.
We need major projects to stimulate the economy. We also need to develop a more sustainable way of life. BOTH are urgent priorities. Projects that deliver BOTH will enjoy very widespread support.
So where is FNQ’s ‘ready to go’ list of sustainable development projects which our local politicians could be selling – right now – in the corridors of power down south?
Here are a few suggestions:
· Upgrading the region’s sewerage systems to world best practice
· Systematic remediation of te region’s toxic sites
· Large-scale forestation to reestablish riparian and wildlife corridors
· Building a new, high-efficiency rail system for the region
· Upgrading the region’s infrastructure for disaster amelioration
· Establishing more state-of-the-art eco-tourism visitor facilities on public lands