There is a perception that government involvement is ‘doing it to us’. When it comes to central government social investment, intervention or whatever you might like to call it, it’s fair to say we have just about tried every national approach available in terms of making in-roads into our negative statistics. Sadly they have not improved.
There are many arguments about why this is the case. None of which I am going to go into today, simply because it is what it is. However, we are at the forefront of a new time and I am somewhat excited by this. Because we have an opportunity to really take charge of our destiny. I can only assume that the new government will be looking for ground-breaking approaches to break the cycle. The challenge for us will be finding common ground – a united approach across the district. There is some fantastic work already being undertaken and some incredible people leading the charge. The difficulty is that there is often not clear connection between the activities, the ability to share knowledge and combine approaches.
It is my belief that, if we are to make the most of the opportunity before us, we will need to step up with a united voice and clearly own and define our journey. We will need to be brave and be empowered to trail blaze some different approaches. This must be owned and lead by the very people that carry the mandate – the leaders of our communities.
The role of government, whether national or local, is to serve and support the wellbeing of our people and our place. I have no doubt that many of the products and services that have been tried over the years have been undertaken with the best of intentions. However, they have often lacked one common element – local leadership and direction.
To be fair, I have seen lack of local leadership, the indifference, in-fighting, egos and other actions that take away the power of the people. I have also experienced those that have been brave enough to step up and then get pulled down by the nay-sayers and small-mindedness that does not see past the perceived personalities.
So, what will we do to make the real change needed to be our potential? Will we sit back and continue to allow things to happen to us or is there a desire to step up and take our future into our hands? I certainly know there is commitment at a community level. However, when it comes to working with central government, we need to also have a district/regional approach. This requires strong and trusting collaboration. It requires the removal of ‘hats’. It requires a joint effort from a bunch of people determined to make a change.
This is about stepping into our power as a people. No blame, no shame. Owning, celebrating and driving a better future for all of us. The opportunity is knocking.