I came across an article in The West this morning that further highlights the need to develop economic buffers in the regions to offset a reliance on any one driver industry. The article covers what Agriculture Minister Terry Redman describes as a “crisis engulfing WA’s Wheatbelt” that could result in more than 10 per cent of farmers in some areas being unlikely to get finance to carry on for another season. The Minister has written to other Ministers to explain the situation in the Wheatbelt and “asked them to do everything they could in their portfolios to respond to the challenge”.
This level of political awareness is encouraging and is certainly beneficial for the Wheatbelt but it also exemplifies the precarious economic situation in many regions; if a driver industry is struggling other economic ‘buffers’ are required to help regional communities withstand major shocks or cyclical downturns in local and global markets otherwise towns risk becoming a government ‘subsidised town’.
Changes in Regional Economies
Source: Pracsys 2013
In a previous post it was the resource industry that was a cause for concern. This latest article turn back towards the agriculture industry. When it comes to building resilient regional economies, neither industry is more important than the other. These driver industries, plus many other industries and supply chain participants, must continually be monitored and developed to ensure they remain viable and capable of sustaining their regional communities into the future.