Better co-operation vital

It has ebbed and flowed down the years.

One moment it’s two communities represented by two voices and then – in moments of pragmatic revelation – the idea of two communities with a single voice.

But despite the almost absurd roadblocks created by Border anomalies, so much of that shrouded in bureaucratic intransigence, the region has thrived.

When other regional areas have gone through difficult times, the Border has escaped a lot of the mess.

And that is because of the go-ahead attitude of an innovative business community and the multiple employment and spending strengths created in the diversity of education, health and Defence industries.

The Cathy McGowan phenomenon and the days of Labor MP Harold Mair aside, Albury-Wodonga has largely been a politically conservative stronghold.

Its can-do attitude means it has missed out on the pork-barrelling approach to government funding experienced for so long in areas such as Ballarat and Bendigo.

But that does not mean – as alluded to earlier – the community should not have a single voice when it comes to persuading high level of government to pay Albury-Wodonga a lot more attention.

When you have a community where large numbers of people cross the border every day to work or shop, it’s clear that a big picture approach has to be taken.

Having two councils working in isolation, as has happened even in recent years, means the Border’s political voice is diminished. It also means any strategic planning done by one council without consideration of the other’s planning will ultimately produced a flawed product.

You can easily end up with too much of one thing and not enough of the other.

That does not mean the councils cannot continue to focus the large majority of their work on doing what they already do best.

An agreement signed by the cities’ two mayors on Friday promises to provide a platform to work on those strengths to everyone’s benefit.

Like any such move, even if it is such a rarity in Australian politics at any level, there is the potential for a grand idea evolving into nothing much more than window dressing.

But given the far-thinking approach that Albury and Wodonga already incorporate into their everyday operations, that would appear unlikely. As such, this latest move should be applauded.