In recent columns I have posed the question: What does our community look like now, and what do we want it to look like in 10 years?
To consider this, both as a community, and in our own businesses, we can take time to analyse what is happening in our community, the broader region and industries and importantly, look at what we need to be preparing for to create the change we want.
What have been the changes that have happened in your community in recent years? How are they discussed amongst the community? Or are they discussed at all?
If I think about my own community there have been many conversations about the challenges of keeping/ bringing younger people to the region, the need for more services, and the impact of climate on our agricultural industries.
I reckon these would be fairly common conversations in most rural towns across Queensland!
There’s been good work done by Regional Australia Institute and others on challenging the assumption that young people leave the regions never to return.
In fact, more likely, they leave one regional area to move to another, as I have done myself.
With this in mind, how might you test that assumption in your own community? What are the conversations you are striking up with individuals and families new to town?
Why did they choose your community to call home? And does this give an insight into what other community members might also want now and into the future?
From a business perspective these questions can be equally useful if you are having difficulty retaining or gaining younger people for roles in the business.
As part of a community conversation, one of my interests lies in the cultural diversity of our communities and how our towns can become home to families from other corners of the world who have grown up in a rural area and have skills and experiences that they are willing and able to share.
Again, there are some great examples in rural Australia where communities have taken this idea with both hands and run with it.
And so, some food for thought while you are driving to town or checking the cattle – when it comes to building the community we want to live in, how do we make sure that we are all moving in the same direction?