Canberra, Sept 13 : A group of prominent Australians have warned that remote Australia has become a "failed state" fuelled by dysfunction and neglect that threatens the nation's security, social cohesion and rare ecosystems.
The Remote Focus Group, which includes academics, politicians, public servants and mining executives, has produced a "prospectus", detailing the extent of the crisis and calling for an urgent national debate.
While stressing that the problems go beyond those of indigenous communities, the prospectus argues that there is a looming demographic crisis with an exploding Aboriginal population that shows few signs of migrating to metropolitan cities. In contrast, rural employment is falling.
"The overwhelming evidence demands that decisive and comprehensive action is needed to address the crisis in Remote Australia," the group says, and warns that imposed solutions that don't involve consultations will not work.
According to The AGE, the group has called for a radical rethink in policy planning for the region that covers 85% of the continent and holds 65% of its resources wealth.
They argue that conditions of endemic poverty, a paucity of services, financial mismanagement and high rates of homicide and violence in remote Australia fits the criteria of failed states like the Solomon Islands and East Timor.