RCA analyses the final report from the Senate Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation

The Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation‘s final report, Regions at the Ready: Investing in Australia’s Future was handed down on the 28th of June this year.

The Select Committee, which was Chaired by the Nationals’ MP Damien Drum included representatives from all sides of politics, including Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government Mr Stephen Jones and the independent member for Indi, Ms Cathy McGowan AO. The Committee was tasked with reporting on the best practice approaches for the decentralisation of Commonwealth entities, regional development and corporate decentralisation.

The final report was highly supportive of the need for regional cities to be developed and suggested a number of important policy recommendations in relation to City Deals, decentralisation, access to services and connectivity.

It is pleasing to see that Regional Capitals Australia’s (RCA) calls for an increase in regional liveability infrastructure to mitigate the ongoing trend of people moving to the state capitals have been heard. The Select Committee recognised the need for strong service delivery in the regions, noting that regional Australia can play an integral part in Australia’s national population strategy.

The Select Committee made a number of recommendations, including the formation of a Regional City Deals program, identifying regional development priorities, strengthing the role of regional universities and investing in much needed enabling infrastructure in the regions. It was also recommended that public sector decentralisation policy be established and a Regional Australia White Paper be created through a comprehensive Green Paper process.

RCA Chair, Mayor Shane Van Styn, presented to the Select Committee as did RCA member councils. RCA also provided a submission to the Select Committee, which can be viewed here or on our Reports and Submissions page.

Regional Capitals Australia is pleased to note that Minister John McVeigh has indicated he will be taking action to further develop regional city deals, which will be a focus during RCA’s upcoming August delegation.