RCA Chair’s Focus for 2020 and a Farewell from Cr McIntosh

Mayor Shane Van Styn, City of Greater Geraldton


A message from RCA Chair, Mayor Shane Van Styn

G’day members and friends of RCA,

As we wrap up for 2019 and head off to get festive with family and friends, I wanted to take this opportunity to give a shout out to our members who have supported us through another successful year.

Our Immediate Past Chair, Cr Samantha McIntosh will take you through some of our successes later in this piece, but before you crack that bottle of sparkling or premium pale ale (sourced from one of our fine regions), I wanted to a quick word on our future.

In 2020 you can expect that the RCA board

will continue to work with the Federal Government on the National Population Plan so many benefits of growth are felt in regional capital cities.

It was great to see Infrastructure Australia (IA) this year, for the first time, talk about the needs of regional cities, we aim to keep this momentum working in our favour.  We will advocate for IA to take a more active role in identify the projects needed by growing regional capitals and make sure they prioritised.

Education continues to be a focus; building on the Napthine Review of Rural and Remote Tertiary Education we will be having our say on getting education and skills development right in our cities. Education is key to the economic future of regional Australia, so we will be pushing our agenda as the government consider its next budget.

Regional Aviation will also feature strongly as the Government prepare their new policy in consultation with industry and key stakeholders. We will continue to advocate our position that airports, not just rail and road, are vital to connecting our regions to each other, metropolitan Australia and the world.

In the lead up to the 2020-21 Federal Budget, we will continue to advocate for top-up’s to the Regional Growth Fund and Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF), two essential funding streams for regional cities.

Lastly, this year the Business Council of Australia (BCA) joined us in making the call for more investment in regional Australia through 10 new regional deals. Deals remain a high priority for RCA, we make this a priority so our members get better alignment with State and Federal investment.

Together we will use our united voice to ensure that our ideas, solutions and needs continue to be heard by those who can deliver.

I would now like to pass over to our Immediate Past Chair, Cr Samantha McIntosh who’s dedication and leadership over the past year has resulted in many successes for RCA.


A Farewell from Cr Samantha McIntosh, Immediate Past Chair

Thank you Shane, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you over the past year.

With the support and great teamwork of the Regional Capitals Australia Board we have been able to achieve some very significant outcomes for our membership and the regions generally in that time.

These successes include:

  • The launch of a National Population Plan: that for the first time includes initiatives to grow regional cities through migration and infrastructure; and
  • The launch of a new Airport Fund: that prioritises investment into regional city airports.

We have also:

  • Strongly, and successfully, advocated for: recurrent funding for the Faster Rail program, Building Better Regions Fund, Mobile Blackspot Program and Regional Study Hubs; and
  • Supported the ongoing and strategic relationship with the Regional Australia Institute and Regional University Network.

What is exciting is the potential for what can be achieved in the year ahead.

I look forward to the continued and growing success of Regional Capitals Australia – we are becoming a significant national voice – the ‘go-to’ organisation for clear and concise understanding of what is really happening in regional Australia.  To enable the contrast, we also have a very solid understanding of what the capital cities are doing.

Federal and State Governments know that regional Australia is the key to our growth and prosperity as a nation.

RCA holds the key to enabling the right funding and support to realise the regions’ full capacity.

To those RCA members questioning whether to sign up again – or to those regional capitals wondering if they should join – the answer is yes.

We are better, bolder and more robust together.

Thank you all for your wonderful support in me during my time as Chair. It has been a privilege.

Happy holidays.