Regional Capitals Gains Seat on National Cities Group

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Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) today welcomed the announcement by the Assistant Minister for Cities, The Hon Angus Taylor that our Chair, Mayor Shane Van Styn was named as an expert member of the new Cities Reference Group.

Mayor Van Styn said he was honoured by the historic announcement, stating the appointment was the first time the voice of regional capital cities would be heard in a national urban forum.

“Combined, regional capital cities have a population of more than four million people – a similar size to Australia’s biggest cities, Sydney or Melbourne,” Mayor Van Styn said.

“Regional capital cities also support an additional four million people living in surrounding towns and rural areas. This means that one-third of Australians rely on a thriving regional capital city for their everyday needs,” he said.

“The nation’s $53 billion metropolitan congestion bill means Australia needs a solution that moves past the big five city bias that, historically, has been engrained in our national leadership. We have earned our seat at the table and it’s great to see the government recognise this,” he said.

The reference members also comprise Australia’s leading industry, community and non-government thought leaders in the cities policy space including: Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Transformation from the Department of Prime Minister and CabinetDr Steven Kennedy, CEO of Infrastructure AustraliaPhillip Davies, and CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and IndustryJames Pearson.

In announcing the members of the reference group, Minister Taylor said the forum would provide advice to the Government on cities policy regarding its Smart Cities Plan.

The Smart Cities Plan, released by the Government last year, aims to foster productivity, accessibility, liveable cities aimed to attract and retain talent, boost innovation, create jobs and stimulate economic growth in cities across regional and metropolitan Australia.

“Many of our member cities are growing rapidly, meaning our regional cities need better planning around core infrastructure needs such as transport, digital technology, education, recreational facilities and culture.”

“Making sure the needs of our members are heard where it counts, is at the heart of what we do at RCA,” he added.

“I believe a seat on the Cities Reference Group is a step in the right direction to ensure that policy created to inform the Government’s Smart Cities Policy is innovative and addresses the needs of our regional cities and our regions – not only now, but well into the future,” Mayor Van Styn noted.


Rachael Sweeney, Regional Capitals Australia Secretariat
P: 03 9666 3368
M: 0422 067 858

About Regional Capitals Australia

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) is a national alliance of local government councils across the nation representing Australia’s regional cities. RCA’s mission is to provide a recognised platform to champion the strategic importance and sustainable development of regional capitals around the nation. To learn more about our work visit

Available for Interview
Mayor Shane Van Styn – Chair, Regional Capitals Australia.


Please contact the RCA Secretariat on the above details to arrange an interview with our Chair.