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Regional Capitals Australia Statement on High-Speed Rail

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Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) today welcomed discussions by both major political parties on a high-speed rail project connecting regional capital cities to Melbourne and Sydney.

RCA Chair, Mayor Shane Van Styn said this once in a generation project is exactly the sort of investment needed to grow Australia’s regional capital cities and also a key piece of infrastructure required to ease the squeeze in Melbourne and Sydney. READ MORE “Regional Capitals Australia Statement on High-Speed Rail”

Political parties urged to commit to future of Australia’s regional capital cities

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Regional Capitals Australia is calling on the major political parties to commit to the recommendations of a major federal government report for the infrastructure needs of the nation as they pertain to Australia’s regional capital cities.

The report by Infrastructure Australia, the statutory authority tasked with taking the politics out of national infrastructure planning, recommended the Federal Government recognise regional cities as national economic assets and plan accordingly for their future.

The call comes as the mayors from 30 regional capital cities, representing four million people, descend on Wodonga today for a major conference on how to improve the future for Australia’s regional capital cities.

Mayor Shane Van Styn said, “Australia’s regional capitals are growing rapidly, faster than the Australian average.

“Currently we have four million people living in regional capitals, where these cities support another four million people in the surrounding rural areas.”

“That means one-third of Australians depend on a regional capital city for jobs, education and transport and social infrastructure, like sporting facilities and arts centres,” Mayor Van Styn said.

“Australia’s regional capitals are also an engine room of growth, contributing $225 billion to the national economy annually, and that figure can only increase with the right investment,” he said.

While regional capitals are strong contributors to Australia’s economy, business investment, skills development and education in the nation’s regions are vastly underfunded compared to their major capital counterparts – leaving regional Australians less educated and with fewer job prospects.

 

[ut_quote_rotator_alt speed=”5000″ autoplay=”on” randomize=”on” width=”fullwidth”] [ut_quote_alt author=”Jack Archer – CEO, Regional Australia Institute”] Regional cities account for 15 per cent of the economy, and four-and-a-half million people live in regional cities. For these cities not to be part of the Cities Agenda is basically ignoring a population the size of Sydney or Melbourne. [/ut_quote_alt] [ut_quote_alt author=”Jonathan Cartledge – Chair, Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) Cities Task Force”] What we need to do is to develop the business case to undertake the cost-benefit analysis that supports that strong long-term pipeline of infrastructure projects, and make those projects investment-ready for our regional cities so that investment is attracted and facilitated, and infrastructure is delivered for the benefit of those communities. [/ut_quote_alt] [ut_quote_alt author=”Dr Caroline Perkins – Executive Director, Regional Universities Network”] The future is bleak if regional capitals cannot continue to retain and attract young, skilled Australians in their communities. They’ll be less innovative and resilient and less able to participate and drive the innovative and highly productive industries of the future. [/ut_quote_alt] [/ut_quote_rotator_alt]

 

“The opportunities to address this imbalance and support economic growth is vast. A commitment is now needed to plan and fund the right level of social and economic infrastructure in Australia’s regional capital cities to ensure this growth can occur and our cities do not get left behind.

“That is why we are calling on all our major political parties to commit to the recommendations of the recent Infrastructure Australia report as they pertain to the regional capital cities.”

Australia’s regional capital cities need investment in education, jobs, child care and aged care so that liveability, opportunity and economic activity can be maximised for all Australians.

“We believe that investing in Australia’s regional capital cities will help take the pressure off of our state and territory capital cities by spreading the load of population and jobs growth while maintaining liveability, both in the regional capital cities and in the state and territory capitals.”

 

Regional Capitals Australia recommendations to the major political parties

RCA recommends major political parties to take action on:

  • Creating a Regional Capitals Productivity Fund to fund productivity-improving projects in regional capitals.
  • Requesting Infrastructure Australia to work with all levels of government to build a list of national strategic projects in regional capitals calculated with equitable return on investment models for both social and economic capital.
  • Prioritising regional capitals in the delivery of the Mobile Blackspot Reduction Programme to enable full telecommunications access for vital economic and services nodes.
  • Ensuring all regional capitals have Full Fibre to the Premises (FttP) by 2021.

 

Download the report

 

CONTACTS

Regional Capitals Australia Secretariat
Rachael Sweeney
P: 03 9614 7302
M: 0422 067 858
E: secretariat@regionalcapitalsaustralia.org

 

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.

The National Cities Summit

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A new milestone for RCA has been achieved this week.  Our new Chair, Mayor Van Styn was invited to attend the National Cities Summit by the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation the Hon Angus Taylor MP. This is the first official acknowledgement by the Federal Government that our cities are part of the national urban agenda.

 The National Cities Summit aims to work on improving the productivity, accessibility and liveability of Australia’s cities. It is seen as a national priority for the Australian Government. The Summit hopes to bring together key stakeholders to discuss opportunities for innovation in our urban centres and explore better ways for governments, the private sector and research community to collaborate to shape the future of our cities, and improve the way they function to ensure Australia’s ongoing prosperity.

Canberra Delegation Meeting

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]On March 15 and 16, a delegation from Regional Capitals Australia went to Canberra to meet with a number of federal ministers to discuss Regional Capitals Australia’s policy positions.

In light of recent ministerial changes and indication of new policy announcements for regional Australia and Australian cities, the focus of the meetings highlighted the significant role regional capitals have in both of these areas.

Take a look at our policy positions:

  • Strong regional capitals are fundamental to regional development.
  • Regional capitals are economic gateways central to nation building.
  • Regional capitals will allow Australia to grow sustainably.
  • Regional capitals are at the forefront of international trade opportunity

 

The delegation met with the following stakeholders:

  • Senator the Hon Fiona Nash MP
    Minister for Regional Development, Rural Health and Regional Communications,
  • Office of The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Agriculture and Water,
  • Mr Andrew Giles MP
    Lead on Transport and Cities for Australia Labor Party,
  • Ms Melissa Price MP,
  • Senator The Hon Matthew Canavan MP
    Minister for Northern Australia,
  • Office of The Hon Darren Chester MP
    Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and
  • The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

 

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][cq_vc_sidebyside card1avatar=”image” card1image=”3099″ dividertype=”icon” dividericon=”openiconic” divider_icon_openiconic=”vc-oi vc-oi-aperture” dividerfontsize=”1.5em” dividerwidth=”50px” dividerheight=”50px” dividerbg=”#f5ab35″ dividercolor=”#ffffff” card2content=”Peter Bettess (General Manager of Planning and Tourism, City of Greater Geelong), Cr Rod Kendall (Wagga Wagga City Council), Melissa Price MP (Member for Durack), Mayor Shane Van Styn (City of Greater Geraldton), Cr Peter Long (City of Karratha)” cardstyle=”lightgray” contentwidth=”80%”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][cq_vc_sidebyside card1avatar=”image” card1image=”3099″ dividertype=”icon” dividericon=”openiconic” divider_icon_openiconic=”vc-oi vc-oi-aperture” dividerfontsize=”1.5em” dividerwidth=”50px” dividerheight=”50px” dividerbg=”#f5ab35″ dividercolor=”#ffffff” card2content=”Peter Bettess (General Manager of Planning and Tourism, City of Greater Geelong), Cr Rod Kendall (Wagga Wagga City Council), Senator the Hon Fiona Nash (Minister for Regional Development, Regional Communications and Rural Health), Cr Peter Long (City of Karratha), Mayor Shane Van Styn (City of Greater Geraldton)” cardstyle=”lightgray” contentwidth=”80%”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][cq_vc_sidebyside card1avatar=”image” card1image=”3099″ dividertype=”icon” dividericon=”openiconic” divider_icon_openiconic=”vc-oi vc-oi-aperture” dividerfontsize=”1.5em” dividerwidth=”50px” dividerheight=”50px” dividerbg=”#f5ab35″ dividercolor=”#ffffff” card2content=”Cr Rod Kendall (Wagga Wagga City Council), Mayor Shane Van Styn (City of Greater Geraldton), Senator the Hon Matt Canavan MP (Minister for Northern Australia), Cr Peter Long (City of Karratha), Peter Bettess ((General Manager of Planning and Tourism, City of Greater Geelong)” cardstyle=”lightgray” contentwidth=”80%”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Senate Inquiry into future role and contribution of regional capitals to Australia

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The final Senate hearing into the ‘future role and contribution of regional capitals to Australia’ was held on Friday 4th March in Canberra.

The program included representatives from various government and government-affiliated bodies that have a vested interest in regional development.

The final hearing heard from Mr Jack Archer, Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), Ms Phillipa Power, Executive Director of Policy from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (DIRD) and Clr Mathew Dickerson representing as Chair of Evocities, Mayor of the City of Dubbo and as an RCA Board member and Infrastructure Australia’s Mr Stephen Alchin, Executive Director, Planning and Mr Jeremy Parkinson, Director, Project Advisory.

Since August last year, Senators have reviewed 85 submissions and attended four hearings taking place around the nation in Geelong, Launceston, Geraldton and Townsville. During their travels Senators have had the opportunity to see first-hand how our regional capitals contribute to the liveablity and economic development of Australia.

Regional Capitals Australia is eagerly awaiting the release of the final report.

Regional capitals recognised in national infrastructure plan

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Last week Infrastructure Australia released its first long-term Australian Infrastructure Plan. For the first time a clear role for Australia’s regional capital cities was identified.

This is not surprising; Australia’s regional capital cities jointly generate $225 billion every year – that is more than 15 per cent of national economic activity.

Additionally, nearly eight million people – or one-third of Australians – reside in or access the services and infrastructure located in a regional capital.

We agree with Infrastructure Australia that regional capitals, should be considered national economic assets. Equally, we agree with the report’s recommendation that growing regional capital cities should be efficient, liveable and productive centres that are a priority for the Australian Government.

To enable this growth to occur Infrastructure Australia also recommended that long-term infrastructure plans should be created for regional Australia.

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA), an alliance of 30 regional councils, has been making this case for some time. However, we know that for any regional infrastructure plan to be successful, a key component will be identifying the infrastructure needs of regional capital cities.

Investing in better productivity infrastructure in these cities will continue to add billions of dollars to the country’s bottom line.

Together we are calling for the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to build a list of national strategic projects in regional capitals that boosts the productivity and increases the liveability of cities.

Once this is done, we recommend that a Regional Capitals Productivity Fund be created to ensure these projects are funded.

There are national benefits to this action. Infrastructure Australia recommends that part of the solution to turning the tide on Australia’s $53 billion congestion bill is fostering long-term population growth in Australia’s smaller cities in a bid to ease the squeeze on infrastructure in the five metropolitan cities.

For population growth to occur in regional capitals, the Government must invest accordingly.

Investing in the right infrastructure in regional capitals will contribute directly to regional capitals’ economies; providing jobs, increasing value-add spending in our service sector and the availability of skills in the region.

The new Minister assisting the Prime Minister on Cities, The Hon Angus Taylor, has made positive comments that regional capitals are “absolutely squarely” in focus for the government’s thinking about cities. We are calling on the government to ensure there is also strong consideration to plan for infrastructure that will continue to make all our regional capital cities, liveable, competitive and productive for the benefit of our residents and for all Australians.

For More Information:
Rachael Sweeney
Project Manager – Regional Capitals Australia
0422 067 858
secretariat@regionalcapitalsaustralia.org

Labor to hold a ‘listening tour’ across cities

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The Australian Labor Party’s cities task force will begin a ‘listening tour’ across regional cities in January.

The tour will be lead by task force Chair Andrew Giles, Member for Scullin, and begin in Newcastle, one of 50 regional capitals in Australia.

Labor has stated that regional cities are central to Labor’s nation building agenda, so the party wants to hear directly from communities about how to bring their cities vision together with unique local needs.

Labor is welcoming suggestions on which cities should be visited; feedback can be provided by visiting www.andrewgiles.com.au/bettercities

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