This is the time for progressive positive thinking. We are shaped by historical events, wars and depression. Following these events, we were able to move forward and eventually the standard of living improved.
We are now at war with Covid-19 and eventually we will work through a recession. We will move forward not by being negative but by working hard and having goals.
Warracknabeal is a little town with a big name and a big heart. Our town is economically driven by two of the most important growth industries of the present time and into the future agriculture and care.
We have a future. But we need to work on it. Hence this discussion.
Where is the town going? If you consider population as an indicator of direction then the trend is it will get smaller. This can have some social benefits but will likely result in a loss of services.
The WB-40 exercise, which is a look at how Warracknabeal will be in 2040 is to establish a goal and set in train projects to achieve this goal. This is what I came up with.
The goal for the township is “To meet the lifelong expectations of the community”.
The quality of life will be a factor of living standards, services, lifestyle, wealth and friends, through each stage of a person’s life.
For the basis of the exercise I went to population as the central point. The population has inputs and outputs per the attached diagram and the population number will be a result of work to 1) maintain the base and 2) growth.
Maintain the base is where we look after what we have. We ensure facilities are kept up to date and that and we are town proud. It is up to each of us through our involvement as individuals, businesses, community groups, council etc.
Significant community groups are the Lions, WAG, Rotary, the community garden, schools, churches and sporting clubs. Yarriambiack Shire Council has a major role looking after the facilities and people.
Warracknabeal citizens need to be nurtured for their entire life from childcare, education, sport recreation, work, retirement and aged care.
Events that are organised through WAG, Yfest, A and P, arts council, bowls clubs etc need to keep energised. We are inclusive of all our community particularly those that need our help most. Woodbine and the Special Development school must be nurtured.
Life is like roller skating up hill. Take the pressure off and you go backwards. We need to Maintain the base. Maintaining the base in itself may not add to growth or prosperity. Part two of the population matrix is Growth.
Growth in terms of economic activity can come in many ways from existing and new industries, immigration, government decentralisation policy, mining, etc but these are unreliable. As a basis for growth we should look to what our strengths are, what we are good at, agriculture and care. Tourism brings outside cash to town and I’ll consider that later.
Agriculture will be more productive with higher crop yields, greater automation and bigger corporate farms. This will add wealth and revenue to the area but will not add many jobs and these will be mostly related to transport.
The Care industry is one we are proud of now and employs over 25 percent of our work force. This area can grow. The customers will come if we provide a preeminent service. As our population ages there is a natural growth in aged care and we want these people to stay or come to Warracknabeal for their care.
In terms of industry one area of consideration is energy. If the wind farm extensions go ahead this will bring skilled employment through further development and ongoing maintenance. With artificial intelligence and remote-control personnel numbers maybe not that high but they will bring their families and skills and enhance the town.
The foregoing is not a solution but thoughts for how the discussion may move forward. In the next column I will look at some global and local trends and possible strategic projects for our community.