Australia’s Hidden Metropolis : The Future Role and Contribution of Regional Capitals to Australia
Collectively Regional Capitals are home to 4.5 million Australians. They are increasingly urban places with economies and employment profiles that mirror and are often deeply connected to our major metropolitan cities.
Although Regional Capitals are distributed around the nation and service and support our diverse regions, collectively they should be should be considered as a major city with a population base equal to our largest cities. Their emergence has been the most significant part of Australia’s urbanisation pattern for more than 30 years.
Regional Capitals are also fundamental to our economy. They are at the forefront of Australia’s capacity to compete in key industries such as manufacturing and services and have a central role to play in providing for a productive and successful ageing Australia. They also provide a source of economic diversity and resilience to the Australian economy and society that is essential in uncertain economic times.
While Regional Capitals are major contributors to our economy, the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) believes that overall they are underperforming in terms of growth, innovation and dynamism when measured against their potential. Key constraints on their growth include:
- The lack of a coherent urban development policy and ambition for these places, resulting from their distribution around the country and position as second or third tier settlements in each state or territory.
- Human capital, technology and innovation constraints not present in our five major cities.
- The lack of capacity and a genuine mandate for Regional Capitals to lead their own development with the support of state and federal Governments.
The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission to the Senate Rural & Regional Affairs & Transport References Committee Inquiry into the Future Role and Contribution of Regional Capitals to Australia.