Looking to the Regions for Anti-Poverty Week

Friday, 17 October 2014

Professor Julian Disney AO gave particular attention to measures that would help to overcome rural and regional poverty when he delivered the Inaugural Anti-Poverty Week Oration for the Social Determinants of Health Alliance (SDoHA). He explained that the disproportionate urbanisation of Australia is not only placing a strain on the large cities, but is keeping regional centres from reaching their full potential. Investment in infrastructure and services for regional centres and a long-term commitment to sustainable growth could relieve the burden of population growth in Sydney and Melbourne. Measures such as regional investment in housing and urban development would open up greater social and economic opportunities and service centres for people in rural and regional Australia. Professor Disney encouraged regional universities to increase their leadership roles and he commended to them and to others the notion of 'unusual strategic partnerships'. Investment in the growth of regional centres would help with the recruitment, training and retention of health workers outside metropolitan centres, and with the provision of services closer at hand for people in more isolated areas. Professor Disney identified communications as critical to mitigating the impacts of poverty. Central to rural and regional growth is access to high speed broadband and reliable fixed and mobile telephony, as would be highlighted by Barkly Regional Arts in their joint activity with the NRHA for Anti-Poverty Week. In addition to his role as National Chair of Anti-Poverty Week, Professor Disney is Director of the Social Justice Project at the University of New South Wales, Chair of the Australian Press Council, the National Affordable Housing Summit and the National Community Tax Forum. He is a previous President of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and of the International Council on Social Welfare, representing social welfare organisations from more than 80 countries. The National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) takes a broad view of health and is enthusiastic about pursuing new and practical opportunities for addressing the social determinants of health in rural and remote Australia. It is a member of SDOHA.