Working with regions is a step in the right direction The Grattan Institute report on Investing in regions is timely as both Federal and Victorian governments grapple with challenges of a ‘two speed’ or ‘patchwork’ economy and metropolitan transport and planning problems arising from rapid population growth. The report takes an unapologetic economic stance, and implicitly accepts that the benefits of agglomeration economics (economic growth) outweigh the costs. Its findings suggest that market forces should be left to ‘get on with it’. Social, civic and environmental returns are key components of liveability. They are the reason people are moving to coastal cities and ‘bolting’ regions. It is up to governments to make sure that economics does not drown these out. Common sense confirms Grattan’s main conclusion: that government spending will not produce the same return regardless of where it is spent.
A couple of weeks ago, I read in a magazine that successful Mad Men actress January Jones was told by her ex-boyfriend Ashton Kutcher (now married to the impossibly youthful Demi Moore – do try to keep up) that she would never make it as an actress. Last week, I heard on the radio that mega successful entertainer Lady Gaga was told by an ex-boyfriend that she would never make it as a singer or win a Grammy (she has won 2 Grammys so far).
This week, a young academic told me that her line manager had told her she would never get promoted. (The young woman is extraordinarily determined, feisty, intelligent and, as her manager will see, she will catch him up and pass him before he knows what hit him.)
The recent discussion paper on setting and monitoring academic standards for Australian Higher Education from the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) should have been a welcome contribution to a national discussion on this critically important topic.
It is a shame that it has come so late and at the same time that the federal government has announced there will be a new system for ensuring standards at the tertiary level.