Tony Abbott's recent comments (and plans) about developing Northern Australia remind me of a page feature I had in The Courier in 2001, advocating (the headline) The need to decentralise.
The article seems even more pertinet, relevant and forward-looking in this election year.
The first paragraph asked "Isn't it way past time our state and federal governments were fair dinkum about decentralisation.
"Isn't it time we were shown determination (a key word), vision and short and long term planning on this vital matter?" I called for a "definitive plan" for the nation as a whole.
The whole of Australia, areas such as small towns and, in effect northern Australia.
I re-emphasise this now as being something all parties and the independents should agree on for the nation as a whole, including the Darwin and Northern Australia areas. And more than ever, such a plan would include how we face the vagaries of nature.
Being prepared, as much as we can, to combat the droughts, the flooding rains, the fires and using all modern "miracles" (including communications) to ensure the nation's future for generations ahead.
Looking at our infrastructure, education, health - the gamut of features that should be found in large and small centres, across the nation. A united effort. Being fair dinkum about decentralisation, country areas and the relatively isolated parts of the nation.
If not now, when? If not us and our leaders, whom? Where are the practical and workable ideas?
Let's be really fair dinkum about the Great South Land's way ahead in an ever-altering world and our changing geographical position in it.
After all, Australia is only on loan to our MPs to pass on to future generations. What will be their (our) legacy?
STAN MARKS, OAM