The National Rural Women’s Coalition is calling on policy makers across government to ensure that rural people are consulted and that the needs and interests of rural people, communities, primary industries and businesses are properly considered in the development and implementation of all policies.
Dr Hamilton says, “The current economic environment means consideration and consultation with rural, remote and regional communities will become more critical to future policy support and success.
Tough economic environment and tight budgetary constraints have resulted in significant cuts in government programs and services. It is imperative that government and policy makers ensure that successful services and programs are continued through consideration and proper consultation.
“Essential services are services all members of community, no matter where we live, have an expectation and a right to as a consequence of our contribution to the wealth of country. And regional communities certainly cut above their weight when it comes to generating wealth. 70 percent of our agrifood and fishing production comes from regional Australia and this nation is in the top ten contributors to world food supply and that’s not to mention our contributions in terms of the resource sector to the national economy.”
“But it currently costs us five times as much to access essential services as it does our city counterparts and that’s assuming we have the essential services to access.” “Rural Proofing will ensure that regional, rural and remote communities are consulted and that our needs are considered when drawing up and implementing new policies and programs.” Dr Hamilton said.
There is substantial research and evidence to suggest that when government properly consults and considers the needs of communities and that when communities take ownership of programs, the benefits and achievements of those programs are significantly higher.
The Coalition is advocating for:
- Rural proofing to be applied across all government departments, with a central rural proofing unit established within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
- Each government department produce an annual report outlining their approach to rural proofing and outcomes.
The National Rural Women’s Coalition is one of the few national women’s organisations that operates within rural, remote and regional communities and one of the most influential in representing the views of women within these communities.