Released 29th September 1998
"We could not find a single source that convincingly captured the realities of the Australia existing beyond the nations cities and suburbs. That there was not a full blown, credible Australian rural development policy to be found."
Dr. Jonathon Sher, Author "Beyond the Conventional Wisdom" and keynote speaker at International convention on Issues affecting rural communities, James Cook University, 1994.
Australias rural and regional communities are key contributors to the national economy. These people and these communities play a vital role in the prosperity of this nation.
Rural Australia is the source of national self-sufficiency. Australia can sustain itself in terms of minerals, energy and other natural resources, and it is rural Australians who make these resources available to the nation.
One Nation believes that Government has a primary obligation to look after domestic industry.
Policies of unilateral tariff reduction, deregulation of the financial system and free trade are ideologically motivated. Tragically, the ideology driving these policies is seriously flawed. Our competitors have continued to protect their industries and their national sovereignties while Australia has exposed itself to deregulation, free trade, globalisation and economic rationalism.
If a country has an agricultural base from which to feed the people, industrial infrastructure, a skilled manufacturing base, oil and mineral resources, and a healthy united and educated population, it has the essentials to become self sufficient. If that country is barren of opportunity for its young, unable to care for its aged, dependent on goods and finance from foreigners, and unemployment among its workforce is rife, the problem is political ineptitude and economic mismanagement.
The key to ensuring the prosperity of the bush and indeed the entire country, is to
do as much value adding of Australian produce as possible in Australia, thereby reducing our dependence on imported manufactured goods. This is the best way to create employment opportunities in the bush and the city, and improve our balance of trade figures and standard of living. Australia has a very clear choice we either make and buy Australian goods which means Australian jobs or by cheaper subsidised product and continue losing jobs.
Australia needs a peoples bank to provide long term low interest funding to allow further expansion of existing industry and manufacturing and to provide venture capital for new industry. Low interest finance is essential for debt reconstruction for Australias primary producers and small businesses who have lost equity and viability due to drought and low commodity prices. Access to existing government assistance schemes is extremely difficult.
Australia should follow the example of inland North America which has been major beneficiary of new communications technology which has encouraged people to set up business in the country, resulting in increased population in rural areas, and boosted regional economies. The same could apply to Australia provided essential communication technology is extended throughout rural Australia.
One Nation believes that it is the role of government to provide fair and equitable access to essential government services and infrastructure to all Australians. Rural communities should not be disadvantaged by inadequate infrastructure and reduced level of essential government services.
One Nation will support a major international marketing and promotional campaign for rural tourism. The opportunity to increase our tourism dollar, increase employment opportunities and improve our balance of payments figures is not being maximised. The coastal strip is receiving the lions share of the promotion, while arguable Australias greatest tourist attraction, the bush, the great open spaces with the diversity of natural attraction and national parks are under marketed and under promoted. One nation believes there should be a major domestic and international marketing campaign.
The source of renewable wealth in the past and the way to our future will come from rural and regional Australia and the resources to be found there. It is critical that these resources and these people and their contribution the nation is understood by all Australians. We cannot continue to lose any more of our country communities- this nation cannot afford the consequences. One Nation has identified a national plan based on regional audits and information derived to recreate Australian made, to value add, and to facilitate the process from conception to sale.
One Nation will establish a national bank (The Bank of Australia) to provide long term low interest funding.
The bank will provide low cost finance for consolidation of existing business and industry debt, allow further expansion of new ventures, and to provide essential funding for debt reconstruction for Australian primary producer and small business. The inability to access government assistance due to excessively restrictive criteria has caused loss of equity and viability with existing debt burdens. The Nation has a choice-continue to lose farmers and small business, or provide suitable funding.
Unless a debt reconstruction plan is adopted (as a consequence of years of drought, low commodity prices and other exceptional circumstances, the average Australian farmers debt is in excess of $180,000 and with average yearly net returns of $25,000 it is impossible to service) then Australia will continue to lose the family farm.
One Nation will initiate regional audits on a shire by shire national basis.
These are necessary to build an inventory of the human and natural resources, natural attractions, industry potential, market demographics, government services, and infrastructure assets in rural areas, on a region by region basis. The purpose of this is to gain an understanding of the potential for region by region development across all areas of business, industry manufacturing and commercial activity, based on accurate and up to date information.
(Note-most of this information is available from various government departments, but has not linked to create " the total picture")
This information database will form the basis of the revitalisation of the individual region.
These audits will be used by the community to identify the strengths, opportunities, and infrastructure needs in their area.
Different regions will have different advantages depending upon their geographical and climatic conditions. These audits will identify opportunities most appropriate for each area. For example, tourism, grape growing and wine industries, fresh water, aquaculture, canning local fruit and vegetables, oil extraction from sunflowers and olive trees. We need to squeeze it, weave it, can it, bottle it.
and make it here.
One Nation supports the establishment of regional community based organisations in every shire who will be the driving force behind the revitalisation of their region. It is envisaged that they will link with existing government bodies such as the D.P.I., ACCs , DEETYA, Environment etc, as well as with all community organisations, individuals, business and industry sectors. Using the information identified through the regional audit, all parties would work together to create a stronger economic base by advancing the new opportunities and ideas identified by this process.. These organisations will network electronically across the nation, sharing their ideas, problems and suggestions. The essential difference between these associations and existing government schemes is that it will be community driven, and will adopt an holistic approach as opposed to the segmented and sectional approach that currently occurs.
One Nation will support the establishment of one stop shops, "Ausmade" in each state to assist new rural business initiatives and ventures that have been identified by these community organisations.
These entities will have the expertise to take proposals identified by the regional audits through the stages of
These groups will require initial government support and funding, but will become self-funding through fees and charges.
One Nation will ensure that the enormous resources and research capabilities of our Universities and the C.S.I.R.O are used in conjunction with these groups to maximise new industry and manufacturing opportunities that incorporate the latest technological advances.
One Nation will establish an Import Replacement Program
Australia cannot afford to continue importing at current levels. One Nation believes that Australia must shift the emphasis in the rural industry, from being a raw commodity producer to becoming value-added manufacturing economy. We need to start manufacturing and making these imports ourselves. Our balance of trade figures tell us that now - so do our unemployment figures.
One Nation supports the concept of value adding based on regional audit information, market research and "take-out"(purchase) contracts. Finance will be provided by the new Bank of Australia and the expanded services of the onestop shop(Ausmade).
One Nation believes that Australian manufacturing industry will always suffer from a degree of diseconomy of scale and will require some form of protection from externalities created by an "uneven playing field."
One Nation believes that the economic cost to consumers of protecting manufacturing industry is justified by the social benefits and correction of our trade imbalance.
One Nation will introduce a simple labelling system of three categories to allow consumers to purchase Australian-made products with confidence. The categories of labelling are as follows:
One Nation will actively promote the concept of inland tourism and the attractions of inland Australia, through major marketing initiatives, both domestic and international.
The promotion of Australian tourism has been largely confined to the eastern seaboard. Inland tourism, including eco-tourism has been mostly ignored in the past. This is an area of enormous job creation and earning potential for all Australians. In most areas, there is sufficient accommodation capacity, and transport facilities to support increased the increased inflow of tourists. To date there has been little recognition of the diversity of attraction throughout inland Australia, nor any packaging or promotion on inland tourism.
One Nation supports an awareness campaign to educate the Australian people about the consequences of continuing with current government policy which allows cheap subsidised imports to come into the country and destroy Australian industries, farmers and small business. One Nation believes that bilateral trading agreements should be based on equal tariffs and other industry protection .
Australias international market is not increasing in line with increasing international demand, particularly for the fresh food market. Niche markets need to be researched and product developed to meet these requirements.
One Nation believes rural Australians are entitled to adequate access to government services such as health, education and other infrastructure.
One Nation will ensure country Australians receive more equitable treatment than they have received in the past under previous governments and their agenda of centralisation. All government policy must stand the test of fairness and equity for rural and regional Australians. All Australians will be guaranteed a level of communications, mail service, public transport, education, health, electricity and road infrastructure that are adequate, fair and equitable.
A scheme similar to the Remote Areas Dental Scheme (R.A.D.S) in NSW for areas not serviced by a public clinic will be funded through tied grants. This will enable country towns to be provided with good dental services through the existing private practitioners in the towns. The scope of this scheme is to be similar to that provided by the Veterans Affairs Dental Scheme.
Pharmacists will be given incentive to be Medicare agents in areas where there is not ready access to a Medicare office.
One Nation supports the return of control of public hospitals to their own hospital boards. Reversion to hospital boards effectively restores control to local communities who can then take pride and an interest in their hospital.
While there is an oversupply of GPs and specialists of both medical and dental practitioners in the capital cities the rural areas continue to be starved of adequate care.
Reasons for this include:
To rectify this One Nation will:
University Medical and Dental schools will be encouraged to select students more by an assessment of aptitude and maturity rather than academically focussed selection alone. Selection criteria will ensure greater access of country students to medical and dental programs provided there is not a lowering of academic standards.
One Nation will ensure that country Australia has full access to all new communications technology and all the advantages it offers.
This technology is a powerful decentralising force. We need to ensure that the bush is "on line" as is the case in rural America where people are choosing to move their businesses outside of urban areas to take advantage of the benefits of living in the country, such as clean air and lower housing costs.
One Nation will introduce an awareness program in schools and the media to explain the role that rural Australia plays in the life of every Australian, and importance of primary industry to the Australian economy and our standard of living, and the crucial importance of buying Australian products. This will improve our balance of payments, create jobs, and build a bridge of understanding and appreciation between rural and urban Australians.
One Nation opposes the sale of public assets, including Telstra, Australia Post, Water Supply and Power.
One Nation will abolish the National Competition Policy, as it is damaging and destructive to small rural business and local government.
One Nation supports the concept of growing the rural population base by:
One Nation will introduce a rural apprenticeship scheme.
This is a direct payment scheme aimed at providing young Australians with the opportunity to learn a trade by providing employers with incentive through a wage subsidy based on an 80% payment in the first year, 60% in the second year and 40% in the third year - this example is based on a four year apprenticeship with the employer being responsible for 100% of the wage in the fourth year.
In the case of three year apprenticeships, the employer would be responsible for 100% of the wage in the third year.
Estimated cost for 1,000 places is $8 million per year, over three years.
One Nation will broaden the eligibility criteria of "exceptional circumstances" assistance.
Too many people in need have been excluded from assistance in the past due to eligibility criteria which has been too narrow.
One Nation will reduce the amount of foreign economic aid spent each year and will direct it to helping Australians.
One Nation will reduce the amount of foreign economic aid spent each year and will direct it to helping Australians. Where there is a need for foreign aid on humanitarian grounds, we will send food or product in kind, thereby ensuring Australian workers and primary producers are directly involved in the process of providing foreign aid.
One Nation supports the following;
Establishment of National Bank
20 Million dollars per annum above current allocation of Tourism funding to promote major international marketing campaign of inland Australia 'THE BUSH.
Regional audits which will provide a detailed professional analysis of each Shire, its geographical and climatic advantages/disadvantages; its human and physical resources; natural attractions and opportunities to develop the tourism potential; the opportunities to value add.
Establishing community associations (Ruralink) that will identify with the direct input of community and industry, employee and government representatives, a set of clearly defined objectives and priorities including strategies to strengthen existing industry and business as well as identifying opportunities to create new. By networking nationally, ideas and suggestions, opportunities etc can be shared and developed.
An import replacement scheme and value adding to the wealth of raw resources found and produced in rural Australia
Establishment of a national organisation that will have the expertise through a mix of private and government sector to become "a one stop shop" (Ausmade) which will facilitate the "ideas and opportunities identified through the process of audit and the community associations (Ruralink) from concept through all stages to reality.
The introduction of rural apprenticeship scheme for 1,000 young Australians
A national awareness programme about the role and economic, social and cultural contribution that rural Australians make to this Nation and the consequences of the continuing "demise of the bush"