Once restrained by state borders and divisive laws, a sparsely populated swathe of the outback is building on combined strengths as the ‘new state’ of the Darling Matilda Way.

Story By Andrew Hull

Australians identify closely with the features and values that characterise rural and remote Australia. The frontiers of the country have provided us with not only a strong economic base, but also much of the text for the way in which we describe ourselves. We have defined ourselves through our experience of hardship, adversity, invention and perseverance (not to mention humour and mateship) on the far reaches of settlement. The way hasn’t always been easy, however, and political divisions and state boundaries have hampered many of the great development opportunities.
The federal government’s Sustainable Regions Program, the major initiative under the 2001 Stronger Regions, A Stronger Australia statement, has addressed some of the inherent problems associated with developing regional areas. The program has identified 10 areas across the country that would benefit from a shared approach to their needs and assets, not necessarily based on the arbitrary divisions imposed by state borders. One of the newest of these sustainable regions is the Darling Matilda Way.

This story excerpt is from Issue #44

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2006