New knowledge, networks and ideas for Great Small Cities
Work on our long term Great Small Cities program is well underway for 2017. Already, the RAI has provided ideas and feedback through two submissions to the Federal Government.
The first submission relates to the Smart Suburbs and Cities Guidelines. This new grant program looks to be a great way communities across Australia can get connected to new data, organisations and ideas to better inform decision making and activate growth. Our submission raises issues facing regional Australia that need to be considered, including the importance of the program being inclusive and the need to share learnings across all communities.
The second submission on Value Capture, tackles a key approach promoted by the Australian Government to fund future infrastructure. While used extensively in the UK and USA, this approach needs to be tailored to ensure it fits the Australian regional context. Our submission raises issues facing regional areas such as:
- lower property prices and slower growth rates, hindering large earning capacity through property tax/levies; and
- lower average incomes and private sector investment in regional areas, resulting in a disproportionate capacity to pay.
This work is only the beginning for our 2017 Great Small Cities research and policy program. This year the RAI will be looking to provide new knowledge, networks and ideas for the future of Australia’s regional cities to policy makers and city leaders. It includes:
Providing new ideas for policy and local leadership, based on independent research and ongoing dialogue with regions.
The 2017 program will also target growth in small city economies. This will be delivered via a range of events and reports throughout the year in collaboration with our partners.
These new projects build on the success of our work in this space during 2016; including the release of reports in April on Deal or No Deal?, November on Connecting our Great Small Cities and a flagship event held in October, titled ‘5+31 Great Small Cities for a Great Big Nation’.
Our work last year on the North Queensland Pathfinder Action Plan also assisted local government leaders to deliver on-ground, practical action to create jobs in Townsville and its surrounding region.
We are always looking to connect with regional city leaders on these and other key issues, such as policy opportunities, attracting investment, targeting regional city specialisation and dealing with inequality. To learn more or get involved call us on 02 6260 3733 or reach out by email at [email protected]
Dr Leonie Pearson, Leader – Great Small Cities Program