Financial Wellbeing, Health and Security

The New England has a diverse and growing economy and population. We have a range of significant strengths and assets. At the same time, there are significant global and national changes which are affecting our region. To best ensure the financial security and wellbeing of our economy and people we need to continue to develop and diversity our economy as well as provide fair financial support and welfare as a safety net.

The New England has a diverse and growing economy and population. We have a range of significant strengths and assets. At the same time, there are significant global and national changes which are affecting our region. To best ensure the financial security and wellbeing of our economy and people we need to continue to develop and diversity our economy as well as provide fair financial support and welfare as a safety net.

Economic development and diversification

  • Negotiate funding and support for major new projects and developments, particularly:
    • Regionalisation and relocation of government services, business, specialists and people to the region, including the effective completion of the establishment of the APVMA in Armidale.
  • New England Renewable Energy Zone, including pro-active training and supply-chain development to capture the greatest possible opportunities for employment and business within the region (see also Mining for Energy Position Statement).
    • Smart and regenerative farming, including innovation clusters to pro-support the wide range pioneering eco- and techno- practices throughout the Region (see further details below). The University of New England is recognised as a world leader in agri-tech.
    • Digital and knowledge-based enterprise and services, including Armidale’s Digital Economy Strategy and utilising its standing as one of Australia’s most well educated regional cities.
    • Developing and integrating the expansive range of events, farm-stay, environmental, adventure, food and cultural tourism assets in strengthening our status as a destination region, including further investigation of the merits of rail trails and developing stronger marketing presence with neighbouring major population centres.Circular economy opportunities in material resource recovery and re-use.
    • Northern Inland Centre for Sporting Excellence, Tamworth.
    • Develop student-friendly and spouse-friendly employment opportunities in Armidale to strengthen the viability for on-campus students, personnel and researchers.
  • Pro-actively ensure a just and fair transition toward clean energy for the workers and businesses who are affected by the structural change and decline of the coal industry (see also Environmental Health & Resilience and Mining for Energy Position Statement).
  • Strongly support micro, small and medium business and organisations which provide the basis for the overwhelming majority of the livelihoods in our economy, including
    • initiatives that stimulate creativity, innovation and start-up incubators and networks, and
    • pursuing industrial relations arrangements which are workable for employers and fair for employees.
  • Address energy affordability through effective energy efficiency, upgrades, demand management, embedded and distributed energy and energy literacy programs.
  • Pursue efficient and effective regulation (red, green and magenta tape), to ensure that there is alignment and minimal duplication between the requirements of the three levels of government and other regulatory authorities, particularly for self-employed, micro, small and medium business, charities and not-for-profit organisations.
  • Strengthen opportunities for training, professional development, life-long learning, entrepreneurism, innovation and creativity more generally, particularly in priority areas outlined in this policy platform (i.e. economic development and diversification, social and community services, infrastructure, productive landscapes and environmental health).
  • Support the development of research, development, entrepreneur and venture capital finance and investment markets to encourage and enable greater innovation in and staying in Australia.

 Social and community services, support, welfare and work programs

  • Support local and regional service system governance and service collaboration and coordination to best meet local needs in ways that provide integrated and continuity of care and support. Ensure that services and support are both effective and efficient.
  • Support innovative, efficient and effective service-delivery models such as co-location service hubs and hub-and-spoke, virtual, out- and in-reach delivery.
  • Seek support to achieve equity, social inclusion and address violence, discrimination and inequity; particularly for women, children, youth, gender and culturally diverse community members.
  • Ensure that needs-based funding is provided to adequately resource government-backed services, particularly disability, health (including Medicare and rebate), crisis and transitional accommodation (see also housing below), mental health, education, child care, transport, family, children and youth support (including crisis and family violence). In addition, also:
    • seek $10m of Australian Government co-funding to establish the University of New England Tamworth University Campus, and
    • support the creation of national legislation and regulation for medicinal cannabis so as to provide fair and affordable access for patients.
  • Address the proper functioning and resourcing of the National Disability Insurance Agency and Scheme (NDIA and NDIS), including:
    • seeking an independent review of the implementation, particularly to ensure: that the needs for complex, culturally diverse and Aboriginal clients are being met; appropriate service standards for assessments and planning; adequate resourcing for advocacy and care coordination; fair and reasonable compliance requirements for sole-trader, small and medium-sized service providers; high quality and professional standards of service; the effectiveness of the market-based principles underpinning the scheme, particularly for smaller rural, regional and remote populations
    • addressing and implementing the outcomes of the current Royal Commission, and
    • seeking support to assess the feasibility and funding for the Tamworth Disability Transport Hub.
  • Support the development of legislation, services and programs which support a public-health and harm minimisation oriented approach to addiction, alcohol and drugs, and:
    • support the audit of the Banksia Mental Health Unit, Tamworth, with a view to its upgrade and expansion, and,
    • support the creation of a clinical alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility in Tamworth, similar to St Vincent de Paul’s Freeman House facility in Armidale.
  • Ensure that pensions, family benefits, unemployment benefits and study allowances meet the minimum requirement for a reasonable living income.
  • Establish a Social Welfare Ombudsman to independently investigate and act upon complaints and mistreatment of users of the social welfare system, including services provided by third-party providers.
  • Develop long-term training and work programs linked to the national future of farming and environmental restoration strategies as detailed below.
  • Address the proper functioning and resourcing for aged and community care, including addressing and implementing the outcomes of the current Royal Commission.

 Cost of Living

Refer also to the needs-based funding for social and community services, support and welfare detailed above which reduce demands on private costs of living.

  • Support the investigation and pursuit of affordable housing options including innovative social, community and co-housing models, utilisation of vacant property, financing strategies, legislative and regulatory reforms.
  • Address the affordability of electricity costs through effective energy efficiency, distributed energy, energy education programs and community energy initiatives.
  • Strengthen Medicare to be able to provide appropriate, needs-based, universal health services
  • Support the creation of a national Denticare program.
  • Support measures to increase opportunities for provision of affordable local food, including community supported agriculture.
  • Support the continued development of infrastructure and activities (see below) to provide a range of no- and low-cost community activities.
  • Seek to establish a Royal Commission into the social and economic costs of gambling.