Shire tack­les sta­bil­ity plan

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - Therese Col­man

A re­cent re­port out­lin­ing the re­gion’s most dis­ad­van­taged res­i­dents says more needs to be done to achieve eco­nomic sta­bil­ity within the Au­gusta-Mar­garet River shire.

The Tack­ling Dis­ad­van­tage and In­equal­ity through the Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Strat­egy re­port (now ti­tled Eco­nomic Sus­tain­abil­ity Strat­egy) was writ­ten by Dr Gary Burke and Dr Laura Stocker, and out­lines how dis­ad­van­taged res­i­dents could be recog­nised for their “eco­nomic po­ten­tial”, while by tack­ling in­equal­ity the re­gion could be­come an eco­nom­i­cally self-suf­fi­cient com­mu­nity.

Shire coun­cil­lors will re­view the re­port and make rec­om­men­da­tions be­fore fi­nal­is­ing the lon­gawaited Eco­nomic Sus­tain­abil­ity Strat­egy 2026. The re­port iden­ti­fies low in­come, hous­ing and food, peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, Abo­rig­i­nal en­gage­ment, mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and in­ter-cul­tur­al­ism, the shire’s age­ing pop­u­la­tion, youth en­gage­ment, gen­der is­sues, agri­cul­tural train­ing, iso­la­tion, and the age­ing de­mo­graphic in Au­gusta and its sur­round­ings were dis­ad­van­tages to the com­mu­ni­ties’ eco­nomic sus­tain­abil­ity.

Res­i­dents were in­ter­viewed and took part in fo­cus groups led by the re­port au­thors, and other statis­tics and in­for­ma­tion came from the Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics and web anal­y­sis.

The re­port sug­gests the Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River could change plan­ning reg­u­la­tions to al­low sec­ond homes on farms to tackle is­sues with hous­ing and age­ing, and of­fer rates pay­ment plans for low-in­come or new home­own­ers, which has al­ready been acted on.

It also sug­gests the Shire em­ploy a se­nior Abo­rig­i­nal li­ai­son of­fi­cer, im­ple­ment Abo­rig­i­nal in­ter­pre­tive sig­nage at tourist hot spots, and es­tab­lish a proper process for Abo­rig­i­nal con­sul­ta­tion and ne­go­ti­a­tion.

Younger res­i­dents would ben­e­fit from vol­un­teer and men­tor pro­grams as well as short “life skills” pro­grams, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, and a youth en­gage­ment of­fi­cer at the Zone Room would be ben­e­fi­cial.

A sug­ges­tion for the Au­gusta Com­mu­nity Re­source Cen­tre to be­come a reg­is­tered train­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion and of­fer cer­tifi­cate cour­ses was in­cluded in the re­port.

Shire chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Gary Ever­shed said tack­ling dis­ad­van­tage was “one of seven roughly equal streams of an Eco­nomic Sus­tain­abil­ity Strat­egy”.

Com­mu­nity groups, busi­nesses and the dis­ad­van­taged tar­get groups are in­vited to pro­vide feed­back. For a full copy of the re­port, email amr­shire@ amr­shire.wa.gov.au.

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