It is no secret that our economic systems are not working for the majority of people on this planet. Even the wellbeing of those with immense wealth is being undermined by the relentless degradation of the natural systems on which we all depend. And as economic inequality and insecurity grows, so do social and political conflicts over increasingly scarce resources.
The good news is that all around the world, people are experimenting with new (and not-so-new) economic practices that not only meet the needs of people in equitable and just ways, but also protect and regenerate natural systems.
The purpose of The Next Economy is to not only generate greater awareness of the range of economic tools and practices we can use to ensure the long-term wellbeing of both people and planet, but also to support communities across Australia to implement these approaches to strengthen and stimulate their local economies. In doing so, our aim is to catalyse the emergence of economic systems that are:
- Good for people by ensuring everyone’s basic needs are met and that the benefits and costs of economic activity are shared equitably; and are
- Good for the planet by transitioning us away from our dependence on fossil fuels to a zero carbon emissions future and protecting and regenerating the natural systems on which all life depends.
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What We Do
The Next Economy works across four areas:
We develop and deliver training programs, online education tools and events to build the capacity of communities to start economic initiatives that are good for people and planet.
Shifting the Debate:
We engage in mainstream and social media to generate awareness of economic solutions that create social and ecological wellbeing, and to encourage a more positive economic vision.
Policy and Advocacy:
We actively engage in policy and advocacy work to foster a regulatory environment that enables more innovative, socially just and ecologically viable economic practices.
We aim to build a strong, active and educated member base to contribute to the growing movement in Australia and beyond that is calling for a new economy.
What We Support
The types of economic initiatives the TNE team supports include:
- Initiatives that move us closer to a zero emissions economy, including community-owned renewable energy projects, regenerative land use practices, zero waste initiatives and new transport schemes.
- Food justice initiatives that support both producers and consumers while regenerating land and reducing waste.
- Housing projects that are not only affordable and resource/energy efficient, but experiment with different ownership models.
- Cooperative, collaborative and decentralised forms of manufacturing that minimise resource inputs and waste while generating better incomes for workers and communities.
- Enterprises in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that meet community needs and address socio-economic injustices, such as community-owned renewable energy systems, or businesses tied to the protection of country and culture.
- Experiments with new ways to capture and exchange value, including alternative and digital currencies, alternative forms of financing and sharing platforms.
While The Next Economy is new, the work is not. The idea for The Next Economy has emerged from the work of Dr Amanda Cahill at the Centre for Social Change over the last six years. Some of the highlights of this work include:
- Delivering presentations and workshops on economic transition planning to local council staff and community groups in coal and gas affected communities across Central Queensland, the Hunter Valley, and Latrobe Valley.
- Convincing the Queensland Government to fund, and then designing the Communities in Transition program to train people across six regional areas to develop economic transition plans.
- Working with key unions to encourage campaigning and action to support a just transition away from fossil fuels, and contributing to the ACTU and CFMEU’s Just Transition Policy.
- Partnering with the Byron Shire Council and Beyond Zero Emissions to establish the Zero Emissions Byron project.
- Establishing community-owned and social enterprises across Rural Australia, Fiji and the Philippines.
- Helping to establish the New Economy Network of Australia.