Opinion

Innovation is the key to region’s future prosperity

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Innovation is the key to the future.

As Deniliquin trends towards a regional community with less reliance on agricultural production, our ability to innovate will take on greater importance.

In early years our region, like much of Australia, was riding on the sheep’s back. We were home to the famous Peppin Merino, which had the resilience to withstand the harsh climatic variables which are part of this land. Then, last century, one of the world’s most efficient irrigation systems was developed and we became one of the nation’s leading food bowls.

Now, it would seem, Deniliquin will have to find itself again, as the reliability of modern-day agriculture wanes in the name of environmental (or perhaps that should be political) imperatives.

The Easter weekend was a prime example of the innovation that will be needed to help Deniliquin and district keep surging forward.

Several years ago it was decided to morph a number of arts based activities into an arts and cultural event titled Deni Fest. It has become the centrepiece of a host of Easter activities which are drawing huge holiday crowds.

Likewise we had an annual rodeo which needed a fresh approach, as it was often being hampered by soaring mid-summer temperatures. It tossed out tradition and moved to Easter and now is breaking all records.

Every time we innovate and attract more people to town we are generating revenue that keeps local businesses operating and employs more local people.

There is a plethora of ideas and opportunities waiting to be discovered and Deniliquin is ideally placed to take advantage of them.

For example, at the weekend there was national media coverage around the rentafarmhouse website, which is offering rental of abandoned (sometimes needing some love and attention!) farm houses for as little as $1 a week. In return, the occupant may have to offer some renovation skills, or send children to a local primary school.

There are numerous other farmhouses available for $100 to $200, and every time one is occupied it brings more people to a rural community.

This affordable lifestyle is a huge advantage that Deniliquin and district can offer anyone living in the city, and is something we often take for granted, but in reality should never stop promoting.

Anyone with friends or relatives in our capital cities will know that rents and housing prices are exorbitant; well above what is available in our region. We need to encourage those suffering from this financial strain to make the ‘tree change’ to more affordable living.

Although the lack of rainfall and poor management of water is making life difficult for many people across the Southern Riverina, at the same time there are many opportunities which can be grasped.

Identifying them and being prepared to put in the effort to maximise their benefit is the innovative key we need to keep turning.