2019 Intergovernmental Shared Inquiry Program
Continuing in 2019, the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) will lead the Intergovernmental Shared Inquiry Program. This program has been developed in consultation with all states and territories with regional responsibilities – as well as the Commonwealth.
The focus of the 2019 Shared Inquiry Program was also designed in consultation with the RAI’s Research Advisory Committee and Regional Research Connections university partners.
Two key areas of research have been identified for 2019. These include:
- Regional Jobs
- Mid-Sized Towns.
Since mid-2018, there have been growing signs of worker shortages in many parts of regional Australia. While there are some variations in the types of skills needed, competition between regions for workers in many professional and trade fields is increasing.
However, building from the work of the 2018 Shared Inquiry, the results have shown how different regional communities are adapting and changing to manage their workforce challenges.
Grassroots initiatives have shown to be very effective at improving school completion rates, helping young people train on the job and stay in the region, as well as successfully linking workers to employers.
In 2019, the RAI’s Intergovernmental Shared Inquiry will look at local and regional responses to workforce challenges. These include:
- Technology change and the impact it has on the size of the regional workforce, as well as the changing skills needed to meet the workforce demand.
- An examination of initiatives in which different regional communities are taking to improve the ‘pathway into work’ for school leavers, and job seekers.
- Better approaches for delivering education and training in ‘thin’ markets.
- An analysis of the labour market to explore why participation rate and ‘employment culture’ varies in different regional areas.
- A review of the expectations of regional job creation through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and the actions regions are taking to ensure there is a capable workforce available.
- An investigation of the healthcare and social assistance industry as the biggest source of job demand for regions in the future. This Inquiry will look at the mix of the public and private sector, high and low skill jobs in different places, as well as gaining an understanding of future demands in places of different socioeconomic characteristics.
Our research will not duplicate workforce development planning that is currently underway in many sectors but will instead focus of actions that are being taken to improve outcomes.
Across the country, more than 2 million regional Australians live in a mid-sized town – these are towns that have between 5,000 and 50,000 residents.
The 2019 Intergovernmental Shared Inquiry Program will shine the spotlight on these communities to examine their importance from an economic perspective, as well as their future growth trajectories.
In recent years, the RAI has conducted significant work relating to Regional Cities and Small Towns. This new body of work – Mid-Sized Towns – will help fill the gap in evidence-based research relating to regional Australia.
In 2019, the RAI’S Inquiry Program into Mid-Sized Towns will focus on the following themes:
- Understanding the types of mid-size towns we have in regional Australia – how they differ from each other in population size, in their main industries, and in their locations.
- What attracts people and businesses to these towns and what keeps them there.
- How a mid-size town plans its own economic growth – when is it best to specialise in an industry, and when it make sense to diversify the local economy.
- How important schools, health facilities, and community infrastructure are to the people living and working in mid-size towns. We will look at the kinds of facilities people can generally expect to find in these kinds of towns.
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