Country Towns are an essential part of the fabric of rural Australia. They are home to about one in six Australians. Country Towns and their people have been marginalised in the Australian economy, stereotyped as in decline, ignored by policy makers and seen as devoid of good ideas and success.
This Conference is about turning around this image, sharing information and successful ideas and strategies, and providing a forum for those who live and work in Country Towns to face the future in a stronger position.
The challenge for researchers is to find ways to assist communities in understanding the causes of change and to manage the consequences.
We also need to better understand how communities differ in their response to change and what attributes are essential for the development of resilient, vibrant and prosperous communities.
A key focus will be to identify the good ideas, initiatives and strategies that have been implemented. We'll explore what has worked and why. A series of initiatives are designed to promote and publicise these success stories.
This conference provides a first occasion for a diverse group of people, all concerned about the future of Country Towns, to gather together.
This gathering will provide a unique opportunity to develop recommendations for rural policy. The conference will produce a policy statement and a set of agreed actions for presentation to government.
Attendees will have the opportunity to:
- Share information on successful ideas and strategies
- Find out what community attributes are essential for the of Future of Country Towns
- Be part of a network that turns around the image of Country Towns
- Find out ways communities can work more effectively together
Goals of the Conference
The Conference is an opportunity to re-establish the identity of Australia's Country Towns. Attention is frequently given only to the larger regional centres or the agricultural and primary industry sectors. Smaller Country Towns particularly are generally overlooked.
This Conference seeks to highlight the important function of all Country Towns in Australia's prosperity, particularly in respect to their role:
- as home for a significant section of the nation's population;
- in supporting sustainable economic and environmental development;
- in maintaining strong communications; and
- in continuing to provide essential services and facilities.
The goals of the conference are to:
- Provide a significant contribution to Policy Development;
- Identify initiatives to increase government and community awareness of the importance of Country Towns;
- Share ideas, strategies and initiatives which have contributed to the improvement of Country Towns and their communities;
- Identify initiatives and strategies that have been successful overseas and could be applied to Australia;
- Contribute to our knowledge of Country Towns through research; and
- Provide a forum for all those interested and involved in the Future of Country Towns to meet and network.