Prosperity along Australia's Eastern Seaboard: Sydney and the geopolitics of urban and economic change

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Abstract:

Throughout the last decade, the Australian economy has experienced its second longest period of uninterrupted prosperity in recorded history. The paper argues that this prosperity is sourced from an extraordinary surge in finance-based economic activity along Australia's eastern seaboard, especially in the Sydney region. Population growth in the Sydney basin has further fuelled the region's economic growth. The spatialised nature of this prosperity has produced a major shift in distributional outcomes across Australian regions and among households. Sydney-based households, especially those in inner 'global Sydney' neighbourhoods, have had access to high rates of job creation and sustained increases in income and house values. On the other hand, non-metropolitan households away from Sydney—those in regional and rural Australia—have experienced largely negative consequences as historical inter-sectoral and spatial redistribution mechanisms have been dismantled. The paper shows how divergent experiences of the new prosperity have produced an unstable political landscape in regional and rural Australia. It concludes by urging further research into the spatialised nature of economic changes in Australia, especially research that is conscious of distributional flows and outcomes.
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