The Economic Society of Australia (Qld), of which I’m a Vice President, is hosting an upcoming seminar in Townsville on how regional economies can adapt and thrive in a digitised, globalised world (see flyer below). Local ESA member Matthew Cook has lined up well-known Townsville economists Colin Dwyer and Riccardo Welters to speak on this topic. I understand that, in addition to stimulating discussion of appropriate policy settings to promote regional development, some light refreshments will be provided.
Should governments actively direct people and investment to regional centres with a view to easing congestion in major cities (e.g. via tax concessions or government grants)? Should they invest in super stadiums and new convention centres to stimulate growth, or would it be better to invest those dollars in local schools and hospitals, for example? Should regional councils push for a decentralisation of state public administration and a relocation of public service jobs to their regions?
This is just a sample of the interesting questions that I expect will be considered in this seminar. I very much suspect the perennial issue of whether there should be a separate state of North Queensland will arise during this seminar (see My comments on NQ exit in ABC online story). Colin Dwyer in particular has written extensively on this issue in the past and his analysis was featured in the Our Fair Share campaign.
If you’ll be in Townsville on Thursday 22 November, please consider attending this important seminar.