Today a delegation led by Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) Chair and Deputy Chair held talks with Members of Parliament and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development in Canberra to progress the election commitments made by the Turnbull government.
“The first 100 days of any new government is crucial because it sets the tone for progressing the vision and goals of that administration. If we want regional capital cities to thrive and succeed, it is vital that we are in the room championing for policies that put regional Australia in front,” said RCA Chair and City of Greater Geraldton mayor, Shane Van Styn.
During the full day of meetings, RCA met with: Minister for Regional Development, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister for Cities, the Hon Angus Taylor MP and Mr Stephen Jones MP.
RCA made the case for the government to map out a role for RCA member cities to assist in the development of the greatly anticipated 2017 Regional Development Policy (announced during the 2016-17 federal budget), and also highlighted how the alliance could work with the government on a roadmap for at least three City Deals for regional capital cities in each state over the next three years.
Earlier this year, the Australian Government included regional cities in national urban policy for the first time when it announced its draft Smart Cities Plan. Additionally, two regional cities – Townsville and Launceston – were announced to receive the nation’s first City Deals, the funding mechanism of the Plan.
“We’ve seen the needle begin to move when it comes to including regional cities in national urban planning. Now we need to ensure regional capital cities receive the transport, education, employment opportunities and technology services it needs to meet the needs of a growing population,” Van Styn said.
Recently, the Australian Government announced a series of stakeholder roundtables to be held in September as a kickoff to the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program – a $50 million program that will support local governments to use innovative technology solutions to fix local problems.
Rockhampton is currently the only regional city of the six cities announced to host a roundtable discussion.
“Regional capital cities cannot be an afterthought with urban planning because they serve as a hub to essential services. We make up one-third of Australia’s population, with population growth outpacing the national average in many cities,” Van Styn noted.
“To fully address the urban challenges in Australia, we must have representation for regional Australia at the table.”
Sheri Shannon, Regional Capitals Australia Secretariat
P: 03 9666 3368
M: 0405 220 815
Available for Interview
Mayor Shane Van Styn – Chair, Regional Capitals Australia
Mayors in Attendance
Cr Col Murray, Tamworth Regional Council – Deputy Chair, Regional Capitals Australia