Regions feeling the squeeze from highest migration on record

Regional Capitals Australia has welcomed Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released this week confirming that the current move to regional Australia is the highest on record.

Chair of Regional Capitals Australia Cr Kevin Mack said “These figures put an official number to regional capitals’ long term mandate – that regional cities are the liveable alternative to the nation’s capitals.”

In the March 2021 quarter there was a net loss of 11,800 people from Australia’s greater capital cities, the largest net loss on record. A total of 66,300 people made the move to regional Australia, embracing the opportunities and lifestyle offered by regional living.

Notably, our nation’s largest capitals suffered the biggest net loss during the March quarter with Sydney losing 8,200 people and Melbourne 8,300 people.

Cr Mack said “Never before has it been so critical that we get the right infrastructure in place. Regional capitals are facing unprecedented demand for services, in the face of this once-in-a-generation population shift.”

Regional Capitals Australia is advocating for targeted investment to support the growth of our cities, particularly:

  • Prioritising the investment for a new round of business fibre zones and mobile blackspots in regional capitals;
  • Additional funding to support the development of regional city rail projects; and
  • New funding for the Regional Airports Fund and Regional Growth Fund.

Cr Mack said “COVID-19 has changed how we live and work.  In regional Australia, our digital technology and housing services in particular, are not keeping up.”

“For too long there has been a capital city-centric approach.  It is crucial that we acknowledge the growth in regional Australia, and get the policy settings right, accordingly.”

Regional Capitals Australia is urging governments of all persuasions to follow the demographic trend, and ensure that funding matches the move to regional living.