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NOTES FROM THE EDITORS

Introduction to Volume 24 Number 1.

MIKE HEFFERAN AND BRUCE WILSON

Page Number - 1

MODELLING ENDOGENOUS EMPLOYMENT PERFORMANCE ACROSS AUSTRALIA’S FUNCTIONAL ECONOMIC REGIONS OVER THE DECADE 2001 TO 2011

Patterns of spatial differentiation in endogenous regional employment performance across Australia’s Functional Regions over the decade 2001 to 2011 are mapped and analysed. A range of spatial econometric models taking account of the spatial autocorrelation issue are used to investigate the factors which might explain that variation in performance, using the same approach as in previous studies of decadal inter-census periods. Implications for regional development policy are canvassed.

ROBERT J. STIMSON, MICHAEL FLANAGAN, WILLIAM MITCHELL, TUNG-KAI SHYY AND SCOTT BAUM

Page Number - 3

ASSESSING MINING IMPACTS ON ROAD TRAVEL CONDITIONS IN AN INTENSIVE COAL MINING REGION IN AUSTRALIA: A CASE STUDY OF THE NORTHERN BOWEN BASIN

Road transport networks are essential for the sustainability of mining activities as well as the liveability of mining communities. This paper examined the impacts of mining activity on road travel conditions in the Bowen Basin region. A pressure-state-impact-response (PSIR) framework was used to identify the impacts of mining activity. Pressure (i.e., development), state (i.e., change) and impacts (i.e., effects) were identified by reviewing environmental impact assessments of selected coal mines’ travel trips and commodities flow modelling. Following this a household travel survey was distributed to residents of the Moranbah and Emerald townships in order to explore mining communities’ level of satisfaction with their road travel experiences. The study found that the poor pavement condition, safety and congestion was associated with over- dimensional vehicles. Other issues raised included perceptions of poor driver behaviour, particularly in regard to speed, inattention and fatigue. The research identified road user’s support for confining the movement of wide loads to low- traffic periods (such as overnight), and introducing carpooling arrangements to reduce congestion and addressing the issues of accidents and driver fatigue. These findings have planning implications to future transport planning in the Bowen Basin region as well as other inland and intensive mining regions.

DELWAR AKBAR, SUSAN KINNEAR, PREM CHHETRI AND PHILLIP SMITH

Page Number - 35

MERGING BIG AND SMALL: A CAUTIONARY TALE FROM BARRABA

Structural reform through compulsory municipal mergers has been a recurring theme in the history of Australian local government. However, the results of numerous episodes of council amalgamation, especially in rural and remote Australian communities, have largely been ignored by both the architects of structural reform programs and the broader scholarly community. The present paper seeks to remedy this neglect by examining the consequences of compulsory council consolidation through the lens of the ‘lived experience’ of the small rural community of Barraba, which was forced to merge with much larger Tamworth in 2004.

ANDREA WALLACE AND BRIAN DOLLERY

Page Number - 62

QUESTIONING THE VALUE OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR START-UP, KNOWLEDGE-INTENSIVE COMPANIES: EMERGING EVIDENCE AND FUTURE OPTIONS

Australian governments at all levels have identified the opportunity to broaden the economy through the support of entrepreneurial activity within knowledge-intensive business sectors. Many such enterprises were in an early, start-up phase. While much of this activity was initially focused in the capital cities, government regional support schemes were also introduced. A particular feature of many of those schemes was an uncharacteristic willingness by government to become involved in the direct financial and other firm-specific support for small, largely untested companies. It is recognised that these sectors require different models of government support. Further, it would be naïve to believe that simple input–output relationships fully reflect the value of such economic and regional development programs. Nevertheless, given that many of these schemes have been in operation for some years, it is reasonable to ask if this type of government support, that particularly targets those start-up level firms, is well placed. This paper represents the first publication from wider PhD and other investigations into these areas. Surprisingly perhaps, the research has found no truly comprehensive, longitudinal studies on the impact of such schemes anywhere in Australia. However, the recent emergence of significant research from elsewhere in the OECD now questions many of the underlying assumptions that have driven these types of initiatives as regional economic development tools. This paper, based on those studies and consultation with key informants, concludes that some reappraisal and re-alignment of these types of programs in Australia is now both timely and opportune.

MIKE HEFFERAN AND ANDREW FERN

Page Number - 78

NATURE AND IMPORTANCE OF SMALL BUSINESS IN REGIONAL AUSTRALIA, WITH A CONTRAST TO STUDIES OF URBAN SMALL BUSINESSES

Regional small businesses (Regional-SBs) are considered important to sustaining regional socio-economic viability. However, the presence, nature, and causes of differences between Regional-SBs and Urban-SBs are often overlooked in the literature and in the development of regional policy. This study shows the presence and import of such differences by applying theory and statistically contrasting a sample from 2,195 Regional-SBs with published average-Australian-SB data. It was found that, on average, Regional-SBs are profoundly more durable and, hence, creditworthy than average Australian-SBs, but may be at risk because they are slower in applying new technology. The durability/survivorship of Regional-SBs is strongly influenced by their attributes, including size. More studies on the extent and causes of variability in SB durability are needed.

SAMANTHALA HETTIHEWA AND CHRISTOPHER S. WRIGHT

Page Number - 96