Today, Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) Chair Mayor Shane Van Styn joined Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and other leaders and experts in cities policy at the Smart Cities Summit, hosted by The Hon Angus Taylor MP, Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation.
The summit is an initiative of the Australian Government to discuss key issues such as infrastructure investment to support jobs and population growth, while also making sure Australian cities are good places to live.
RCA Chair, Mayor Shane Van Styn, said it was great to finally have a seat at the ‘cities’ table, as the voice of regional capital cities has historically been excluded.
“The national debate about cities has exclusively been on the issues of the major metropolitan cites – but regional capital cities are large contributors to national wealth and are continuing to absorb a fair share of Australia’s rapidly expanding population,” Mayor Van Styn said.
Well renowned for lower house prices, lower levels of congestion and high levels of liveability, Mayor Van Styn said that regional capital cities could assist in easing the squeeze currently being experienced in the major metropolitan cities.
“Regional capital cities can play larger roles growing access to jobs and supporting rapid growth, but we want to make sure the right level of government investment exists so our cities continue to be fantastic places to live,” he said.
In his keynote address, the Prime Minister discussed the launch of the City Deals program – a key plank of the government’s approach to developing cities.
Modeled after a UK program, the ‘deals’ allow all levels of government and the private sector to negotiate agreements to deliver major infrastructure projects that will drive economic growth.
Infrastructure funding available to regional capital cities has historically been channeled towards addressing urgent repairs and decaying infrastructure, where inconsistent and competitive-based grant systems do not allow for long-term planning.
“RCA would like to see the steady flow of investment opportunities that can continue to encourage more people to live in our cities while also ensuring they have a job to support themselves and their families. A City Deals approach may deliver this result,” Van Styn said.
“We look forward to continuing our discussions with the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation on this important issue to make sure that regional capital cities continue to grow and be fantastic places to live,” Van Styn added.
Regional Capitals Australia Secretariat
P: 03 9614 7302
M: 0422 067 858
About Regional Capitals Australia
Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) is an alliance of regional capital local governments across the nation representing Australia’s regional cities. Our mission is to provide a formal platform to champion the continued growth and sustainable development of regional capitals around the nation. To learn more about our work visit http://www.regionalcapitalsaustralia.org.