Issue 3

Front Pages

Note from the Editors

Tony Sorensen and Sonya Glavac

Page Number - 403

Barriers to Small Business Innovation in Australia

This paper examines barriers to innovation by small businesses in rural Australia. A qualitative methodology is employed involving focus group meetings with small business owners in six cotton communities. The findings reveal common as well as unique barriers to business innovation. Common barriers include poor infrastructure, skill shortages, resource dependence, lack of access to finance and political uncertainties. Some communities were more affected by the small size of their local markets than others. The quality of local leaders, conservative attitude of residents, and high cost of living had greater impact as barriers in some communities than others. Infrastructure development using resource taxes as well as decentralising responsibility for development to regional leaders can help address the innovation barriers in these communities

Bernice Kotey and Anthony Sorensen

Page Number - 405

Collaboration for Regional Development: a Case Study of Wide Bay Burnett

Collaboration is increasingly playing an important role in regional development driven by the need to jointly mobilise and connect endogenous assets and resources to achieve self-sufficiency and sustainable development. However, different collaborative efforts are rarely coordinated, resulting in “siloed” efforts to dealing with interrelated regional development challenges. It is against this background that this study sought to understand the nature, scope, opportunities and limitations of collaboration in Wide Bay Burnett (WBB), an economically underperforming region. The study showed that WBB collaborative initiatives mainly existed within sectors and local government areas (LGA) with limited networking across LGAs owing to the geographic spread of the region. In addition, existing networks mainly resulted in information sharing with little scope for the joint development of innovative products and processes. The establishment of new networks and/or broadening of existing sectorial networks would provide better integration of regional initiatives and associated outcomes in the WBB region

Robert B. Mangoyana and Paul Collits

Page Number - 450

Spatial Analysis of Housing Stress Estimation in Australia with Statistical Validation

A large number of Australian households are experiencing housing stress. Decision makers at the national and regional levels need reliable small area statistics on housing stress, to most efficiently and fairly target assistance and policy design. This paper studies small area housing stress estimation in Australia and examines various distributive scenarios of the estimates through spatial analysis of a synthetically microsimulated data. Results reveal that one in every nine households in Australia is experiencing housing stress, with private renter households being most greatly affected. About two-thirds of Australian households with housing stress reside in the eight major capital cities, principally in Sydney and Melbourne. The statistical local area level estimates of housing stress are much lower in Canberra, compared to the other major cities. Scenarios of the spatial analysis identify small area level hotspots for housing stress across Australia. A new approach for validating the results of microsimulated data produced by the microsimulation modelling technology reveals statistically accurate housing stress estimation for about 94.3 percent of small areas.

Azizur Rahman and Ann Harding

Page Number - 452

A Spatial Decomposition Approach for Investigating House Price Convergences

Convergence of house prices indicates how prices are reaching an aggregate equilibrium in a long-run perspective. Identifying the convergence is important for cross-region housing development and investment. Few studies have identified house price convergences at different levels, with spatial effects on house prices predominantly ignored. The research presented here developed a spatial panel regression approach to investigate the convergences of house prices in Australian capital cities. Three hypotheses were tested to identify the level of house price convergence. The results demonstrate that a steady state in a system of regional house prices and spatial effects contribute to the convergence continuing.

Le Ma and Chunlu Liu

Page Number - 487

Economic Disadvantage among Older Australians: Producing National and Small Area Profiles

Spatial and housing dimensions of economic and social
inequalities have had increasing research and policy attention in Australia in
recent years. Extensive research demonstrates the importance of the local
environment especially for older people who may spend much of their time in
their homes and neighbourhoods. While numerous studies have examined the
locations of older people, few have systematically examined ways in which
disparities of economic resources influence spatial heterogeneity among older
Australians. This paper draws on national survey data and spatial
microsimulation to examine locational inequalities in economic well-being
among older Australians aged 55 years and over. The microsimulation approach
makes it possible to analyse multiple dimensions of economic disadvantage
(rather than income alone) for older people at a small area level. Significant
disparities of income, home ownership and welfare dependence were found
along with a strong clustering of elder disadvantage and advantage both within
and outside the capital cities.

Cathy Gong, Hal Kendig, Ann Harding, Riyana Miranti and Justine McNamara

Page Number - 512

Australia in the Asian Century – a Critique of the White Paper

This article critiques the Australian Government’s White Paper: Australia in the Asian Century. It begins by reflecting on the relationship between Australia and Asia suggesting that this is measured solely through the narrow economic lens of Australian interests. The critique then focusses on the key drivers presented as the means by which Australia will navigate the Asian century concluding that although Australia punches above its weight in terms of living standards, equity and social inclusion, the White Paper overstates the country’s capability and capacity particularly in the areas of skills, education, innovation and relationship development. This presents a number of unrealistic expectations, presenting difficulties for the current government to fund the fundamental initiatives required to deliver on the promises contained in the document.

Bruno Mascitelli and Barry O’Mahoney

Page Number - 540

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