A short note this morning linked to another of my recurring interests. I will do a fuller post later on the New England Australia blog.
I have been interested in regional development for many years, driven in part by the seemingly inexorable decline of many areas in inland New England and, more broadly, country Australia as a whole. I have never accepted that this must be inevitable.
The small community of Tingha, an hours drive north west of Armidale, 15 minutes drive west of Inverell is a microcosm of the problem. This town has rich history. It developed with tin (it was once a major Chinese centre), but then declined as the tin declined.
At the last census, Tingha's urban population was 713, one third indigenous. The unemployment rate was over 18%, a further 30% worked part time. Thirty five per cent of the working age population gave their occupation as labourer. This has become one of the poorest communities in Australia measured by the conventional stats.
Now Tingha is trying to rebuild itself from the bottom up, using a community re-generation approach developed by Bob Neville. Those who are interested can find out more here.