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



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.