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Catholic Welfare supports fair go for regional Australia

Catholic Welfare Australia yesterday issued seven key principles for promoting equity across Australia's regions and for socially just regional development.

The seven principles for regional equity and development include calls for a new national framework for economic development, sustained job generation initiatives and long-term infrastructure investment.

Calling on political parties to embrace these principles in their policies for the forthcoming election, National Director Toby O'Connor said: "Catholic Welfare Australia's fundamental concern is the growing concentration of disadvantage in our distressed regional communities."

Mr O'Connor said that entire regions have missed the benefits of national economic growth and fallen behind. He singled out those traditionally dependent on manufacturing, as well as remote rural areas and some coastal regions. He pointed out that these regions endure rates of joblessness several times the national average, while core metropolitan regions enjoy full employment.

"That atrocious disparities of this sort should persist after a decade of much vaunted economic growth is an indictment of governmental neglect and a failure of policy vision," he said. "Our political leaders must now intervene in decisive and innovative ways or risk national disintegration."

Mr O'Connor said that Catholic Welfare Australia is convinced that current national economic policy is hostile to regional equity and that the development of the nation cannot proceed without regard for the development of all regions and their communities.

"In this election year, we call on all political parties to articulate their visions for regional development. Based on its research and publications in this area, Catholic Welfare Australia proposes that the following principles be used to inform the policies of political parties."

Catholic Welfare Australia