At the 82nd annual Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association (EPLGA) Conference recently held in Kimba, RDAWEP presented on five megatrends that have shaped, and will continue to shape, the development of Eyre Peninsula.

Individually they present a particular lens on the future; together they offer a sometimes more complex, overlapping or contradictory trajectory. The trends are:

Defeating distance – Improvements in physical transport and telecommunications infrastructure along with emerging digital technologies have converged to improve connectivity and to lessen the impacts of distance on communities and businesses. Examples include broadband connections and telehealth (talking to your GP over the internet).

Global exposure – Global markets will continue to shape economic activity in Australia’s regions as communities and businesses become increasingly exposed economically, politically and culturally. The growing significance of the Asia-Pacific region as a market for goods and services produced in regional Australia demands higher educational attainment and cultural engagement. Examples include training international pilots in the region and increasing competition for Eyre Peninsula grain from the Black Sea grain growing district.

Diverging places – Larger centres, major cities and high amenity areas continue to draw people and business away from many smaller towns. Growing income inequality within and between places, and declining trust in ‘distant’ decision-makers is challenging governance arrangements. New land owners and land managers are expressing a more diverse set of values in regional places that relate to environment, culture and lifestyle. EP, like all regional areas, has a declining population as young people seek jobs from cities.

New economies – The Australian economy, like other economies globally, is in transition. Two of the mre significant aspects of this are the generation of value through knowledge, innovation and new services in the economy, and the changing mix of energy demand and sources of generation. Together, these changes have the potential to energise new forms of regional development. The hydrogen economy, and precision agriculture in advanced manufacturing in food are likely for Eyre Peninsula.

Environment at risk – Regional Australia’s communities and businesses have long known the environment as a source of both livelihood and risk. However, the declining condition of natural assets, the loss of biodiversity, global climate change, extreme events and biosecurity risks are presenting new or expanded challenges for regional development.

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