Riding the funding cycle: dodging ‘potholes’ in regional, rural and remote Australia

Riding the funding cycle: dodging ‘potholes’ in regional, rural and remote Australia Conference Paper

15th National Rural Health Conference: Better together!

  • Author(s): Cleary, Jen
  • Secondary Author(s): Coleman, Leanne
  • Published: 2019

Abstract: An increasingly interdependent world economy means that differences across regions and within countries can often be greater than differences between countries. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Australian context. In regional, rural and remote (RRR) Australia the differences between regions can be stark – large regional cities; tiny remote settlements; differing population densities; a plethora of differing economic drivers; unique settlement patterns and highly dynamic demography. The differences could well be summed in the sentence: ‘If you’ve seen one country town, you’ve seen one country town.’ In 1970s and 1980s changes occurring at the national and global level and the impact of policies introduced in Australia were keenly felt in RRR Australia. The deregulation of industry and opening up of markets, the floating of the Australian dollar and the removal of trade tariffs and the privatisation of previously state-owned and operated services have all had impacts at the regional level. In the context of this presentation, the privatisation of state services has been especially significant. Increasing adoption of market-based funding approaches has failed (dismally) to take into account the differences between urban and RRR Australia, and the differences between regions, nor the subsequent challenges associated with those differences. Why, for example, do we continue to apply market models where there is clear market failure? Why do funders assume that seeking economies of scale and applying competitive tendering processes have the same outcomes in vastly different operating environments? For many service providers across RRR Australia, these are questions and challenges that are faced daily. This presentation firstly highlights some of the challenges of applying market models in RRR Australia, and then steps through some alternative approaches that could mitigate these challenges at the same time as providing more cost-effective service delivery.

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Suggested Citation
Cleary, Jen, 2019, Riding the funding cycle: dodging ‘potholes’ in regional, rural and remote Australia, Conference Paper, viewed 07 December 2021, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=15342.

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