Central to the discontent which exists in country Australia is the proposition that 40 years of significant policy change has failed to deliver on its promise of more prosperous, vibrant rural communities (following Smith and Pritchard, this volume). Country Australia calls on the Commonwealth Government to recognise and truthfully acknowledge the impact those 40 years of free market economics has had on the people living there. Country people argue that the consequences of change have fallen heavily on small family farmers with cascading effects on the livelihoods of people living in smaller country towns, evidenced in the loss of services and businesses, both large and small. While structural adjustment processes have been accessed by some parts of the agricultural industry, similar adjustment packages have not been available to the local industries and communities whose livelihoods relied on agriculture. Communities have been left to wither on the vine. In consequence, people living in country Australia have come to feel forgotten (Lockie 2000) and ‘abandoned and betrayed’ (Brett 2011, p. 51) by urban governments and city folk. Along with the demise of the relative economic importance of agriculture came a similar demise in the importance of family farmers, who for so long held a special and privileged place at the policy table. People living in country areas frequently feel that their perspectives and interests are now neither understood nor valued by central policymakers or decision-makers. People fear for the future viability of their livelihoods, farms and the communities in which they live (Hogan et al. 2008; Boully and Maywald 2011).
|Title of host publication||Rural and Regional Futures|
|Editors||Anthony Hogan, Michelle Young|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 19 Sep 2014|