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.