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Growing Regional Capitals Need Growing Investment

Ahead of the 2022 Federal Election Regional Capitals Australia is calling for growing investment to support growing regional communities.

Cr Daniel Moloney, Chair of Regional Capitals Australia said as the country moved toward COVID recovery, planning for a network of strong regional capitals is now a national imperative.

“This plan should make sure when both state and international borders fully open that new arrivals and those who are seeking to escape the major capitals can choose to make a regional capital city their home,” Cr Moloney said.

“We are all aware that regional capital city living is on the agenda, however for this trend to continue long term we have to ensure expectation meets with reality,” Cr Moloney stated.

According to the Infrastructure Australia, there has been a 200% increase of the growth to regional areas during the COVID-19 pandemic that has built demand on housing, services, and infrastructure.

“That is why Regional Capitals Australia is calling for investment into our member cities to deliver on our objective to make thriving urban centres with all the things – albeit on a smaller scale – that people will find in the major capitals,” Cr Moloney said.

Regional Capitals Australia through a pre-budget submission has called for the following investments:

  • Better rail connections: more funding towards business case development for regional rail projects and prioritisation of the delivery of these projects under the national rail program;
  • Better air connections: a regional aviation strategy to better connect regional cities to the nation ongoing funding for the regional airports fund;
  • More for arts and culture: a greater share of the national arts and culture funding to grow local talent and attract more shows and exhibitions to our cities and more funding to build quality facilities; and
  • City and Job building funds: more funding for the Building Better Regions Fund and Local Road and Community Infrastructure Fund and re-establish the Regional Growth Fund to allow our cities to grow sustainably and meet the demand for jobs.

Regional Capitals Australia has also called on the Government to use international immigration to solve skills shortages and enable more business investment into our cities through clear regional visa streams.

“Regional Capitals Australia knows our members can be part of the solution of a more productive, liveable and fair Australia,” Cr Moloney said.

“We just need the investment and the right policy settings to allow this to occur – and really isn’t more balance something we are all striving for?” Cr Moloney concluded.

Regional Capitals announces new board ahead of 2022 election

Regional Capitals announces new board ahead of 2022 election

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) has announced a new Chair and Board for 2022, following this week’s Annual General Meeting.

Cr Daniel Moloney, Mayor of the City of Ballarat was elected to take up the reins as Chair, with Cr Grant Henley, Mayor of the City of Busselton returned as Deputy Chair.

In his first statement as Chair, Cr Daniel Moloney said: “It is an honour to take up the baton as Chair and I look forward to continuing the great work of championing the interests of regional Australia.”

“It is an important time for our association as we head into a federal election, we will be stepping up our advocacy on behalf of the one in three people who rely on our member cities for their every day needs,”

“The Board and I will be working to ensure our members have access to much needed funding to invest in roads, rail, airports as well as digital technology, arts, culture and high quality education options,” he said.

Other Board positions confirmed at the AGM were as follows:

  • Treasurer: Mayor Shane Van Styn, Mayor of the City of Greater Geraldton;
  • Western Australia Representative: Cr Grant Henley, Mayor of the City of Busselton;
  • Queensland Representative: Cr George Seymour, Mayor of Fraser Coast Regional Council;
  • Northern Territory Representative: Cr Matt Paterson, Mayor of Alice Springs Town Council; and
  • Victorian Representative: Cr Daniel Moloney, Mayor of the City of Ballarat.

 

The New South Wales (NSW) representative will be determined post the NSW Local Government Elections taking place this coming weekend.

Cr Moloney takes over from Cr Kevin Mack who chaired RCA over the past 12 months and who retired from Albury City Council ahead of the Local Government elections.

 

 

 

 

 

Cr Moloney credited the outgoing RCA Chair with strong leadership through a difficult year: “Cr Mack continued to represent our communities despite the many challenges of COVID-19 restrictions within his own community,”

“Cr Mack lead many delegations with senior government leaders and demonstrated the need for greater infrastructure and policy support to match the strong population growth across regional Australia – I look forward to continuing his work” he concluded.

 

RCA would also like to acknowledge the contribution of our retiring Board Members and New South Wales’ Local Government Mayors:

  • Cr Col Murray, Mayor of Tamworth Regional Council; and
  • Cr Greg Conkey, Mayor of Wagga Wagga City Council.

RCA Welcomes Watershed Moment for Regions

RCA WELCOMES WATERSHED MOMENT FOR REGIONS

Regional Capitals Australia has welcomed the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan as a watershed moment for Australia’s regional capital cities, but cautions that it must be supported by clear government action.

In the plan, Infrastructure Australia (IA) has articulated a clear vision for our regional capital cities.   There is a strong acknowledgment that regional infrastructure investment must be used to empower our member cities to lead Australia’s economic recovery while attracting a larger share of the nation’s population.

Chair of Regional Capitals Australia Cr Kevin Mack said “This is an overwhelming endorsement of the role of regional capital cities in driving Australia forward, and of the work that Regional Capitals Australia has been doing in this space over the past decade,”

“Infrastructure Australia have rightly put regional capital cities front and centre of their blueprint for infrastructure reform in Australia.   Now we need the rubber to hit the road, with real action from the Federal Government,” he said.

According to Infrastructure Australia’s research, there was a 200% increase in net growth to regional centres and regional areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These figures have been backed by the Domain House Price Report which stated that regional housing increased by 12.5% in the past year to June 2021.  Core Logic had rental vacancy at 1% on average in March this year.

“Many parts of regional Australia are experiencing a COVID-induced population boom, but building resilient regions takes more than a migration shift.  The infrastructure has to underpin the growth” Cr Mack said.

The report acknowledges that improved coordination and delivery of infrastructure is essential if regionalisation is to be a success, and sustainable over the longer term.

The 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan has also made a number of landmark recommendations to improve the amenity of regional capital cities, develop key industries and relieve population pressures in other high growth metro areas.  The plan particularly focuses on:

  • Creating connected regional cities through rail and air infrastructure;
  • Measuring and improving digital connections to support industry, the work from home movement; and
  • Social infrastructure including housing and health to support improvements in liveability.

“Regional Capitals Australia would have liked to see arts, culture and sporting infrastructure included in the social area.

“We know that when people move from places like Sydney and Melbourne they are looking for these things, and having them available will ensure people stay in our communities for the long haul” Cr Mack said.

“Regional Capitals Australia is gratified to see our vision for regional capitals replicated in the 2021 Infrastructure Australia Plan.”

“We are looking forward to working with the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP and Minister for Regionalism, Regional Communication and Regional Education the Hon Bridget McKenzie to ensure that there is funding available to make the vision a reality,” Cr Mack concluded.

 

Regions feeling the squeeze from highest migration on record

Regional Capitals Australia has welcomed Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released this week confirming that the current move to regional Australia is the highest on record.

Chair of Regional Capitals Australia Cr Kevin Mack said “These figures put an official number to regional capitals’ long term mandate – that regional cities are the liveable alternative to the nation’s capitals.”

In the March 2021 quarter there was a net loss of 11,800 people from Australia’s greater capital cities, the largest net loss on record. A total of 66,300 people made the move to regional Australia, embracing the opportunities and lifestyle offered by regional living.

Notably, our nation’s largest capitals suffered the biggest net loss during the March quarter with Sydney losing 8,200 people and Melbourne 8,300 people.

Cr Mack said “Never before has it been so critical that we get the right infrastructure in place. Regional capitals are facing unprecedented demand for services, in the face of this once-in-a-generation population shift.”

Regional Capitals Australia is advocating for targeted investment to support the growth of our cities, particularly:

  • Prioritising the investment for a new round of business fibre zones and mobile blackspots in regional capitals;
  • Additional funding to support the development of regional city rail projects; and
  • New funding for the Regional Airports Fund and Regional Growth Fund.

Cr Mack said “COVID-19 has changed how we live and work.  In regional Australia, our digital technology and housing services in particular, are not keeping up.”

“For too long there has been a capital city-centric approach.  It is crucial that we acknowledge the growth in regional Australia, and get the policy settings right, accordingly.”

Regional Capitals Australia is urging governments of all persuasions to follow the demographic trend, and ensure that funding matches the move to regional living.

 

Regional Capitals Australia Welcomes Regional Reboot Budget

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) has tonight welcomed the release of the 2021-2022 Federal Budget, which includes new funding to reboot the regions.

RCA Chair, Cr Kevin Mack said the budget included much-needed stimulus towards investments in roads, community infrastructure and important services that will make regional capitals good places to live. READ MORE “Regional Capitals Australia Welcomes Regional Reboot Budget”

Beware The Status Quo

Image Source: Shutterstock

With the Australia Day ‘long weekend’ upon us, it is almost time for the annual (and very painful) exchange of beach chairs for desk chairs.

The precise location of these chairs and the employees who occupy them has been the topic of much debate in recent days. Lord Mayors, business peak bodies and even Federal Ministers have called for big and small businesses alike to embrace “COVID Normal”, with the first agenda item a move from the home office back to the CBD. READ MORE “Beware The Status Quo”

Chair’s Op-ed: National Farmers Federation Put Regional Deals Back on the Table

This week Fiona Simson, President of the National Farmers Federation (NFF), put regional deals back on the table. During her address at the National Press Club, she promoted her organisation’s strategic document, Get Australia Growing. A challenge has been set for the Government; get the design and delivery of regional deals right, then deliver a record 20 deals by 2030. READ MORE “Chair’s Op-ed: National Farmers Federation Put Regional Deals Back on the Table”

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