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Synopsis

Agriculture, mining and related rural industries have been central to the development of Australia’s economy. This book details the role that the Australian Government has played in the making of rural and regional Australia, particularly since World War II. The book reviews these policies and evaluates them with regards the commitments undertaken by the Government to contribute towards vibrant, rural communities.

Policy areas addressed include agriculture, water, education, welfare and population, natural resource management, resource extraction, Indigenous and affairs, localism, rural research and regional innovation, Youth Affairs and the devolution of regional governance. Overall two distinct policy strategies can be observed: one wherein the government saw its role as part of the entrepreneurial state and a sector wherein government has increasingly taken itself out of industry development, leaving this role to the market. Having considered these strategies and their impacts, the book concludes that policy over the past 40 years has not in fact contributed to a more vibrant, prosperous rural and regional Australia.

Rural and Regional Futures concludes with several chapters looking to the future. One chapter explores what the role of the state can be within a social market economy while the final chapter gives consideration to the initial steps rural communities will need to take to begin the process of revitalisation. While these materials present as a case study of developments in Australia, the policy shift from the Government as entrepreneur to a focus on markets is an international one and as such, the insights offered by this book will have wide appeal.

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