Weller, S. (2017). The geographical political economy of regional transformation in the Latrobe Valley. Australasian Journal of Regional Studies,23(3), 382-399. Australia: Australia and New Zealand Regional Science Association International Inc.
This paper explains the Latrobe Valley's challenges from a geographical political economy perspective sensitive to the path dependent nature of regional change processes, to the influence of extra-local forces, to the socially constructed nature of regions, and to the inherently political nature of transformative change. The paper argues that the recent application of 'new regional' policies in the Valley-policies which aim to revitalize regions by promoting leadership, vision and local coalitions of elite stakeholders-have, in reality, replaced elected representatives with selected stakeholders and reframed the issue by stretching the spatial and temporal scales of action in a way that diminishes the apparent severity of the area's problems. This paper contends that because these interventions sidestep local political contestation, they deepen the disempowerment and disenfranchisement of the people of the industrial Latrobe Valley. Moreover, the process has enabled business elites in Gippsland to capture and redirect redistributive funding to sectors and locations that were never affected by the closure of coal fired power stations.
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