Australia has a thriving and diverse network of 31 smaller cities that make a significant and growing contribution to national prosperity. The Deal or No Deal? report makes the case for small cities in a national cities agenda.
Great Small Cities data tool
Explore and compare Australia’s small cities through an interactive data visualisation tool.
Five keys to small city success
Five key factors contribute to building a successful small city – connectivity, human capital, specialisations, amenities and institutions can assist small cities build success and growth. For small cities, it is about identifying these factors and turning challenges into opportunities to deliver on their potential.
A City Deals policy
A City Deals policy can enable small cities to continue their strong economic performance. City Deals are a negotiated agreement between governments and a city that give the city responsibility for decisions that support businesses, create economic growth and determine how public money is spent in their area.
The Benefits of Growing Small Cities
The economic potential for small cities, if they can deliver, is huge. In 2026 Australia’s small cities are projected to grow to 5.6 million people. This growth can fuel economic output with baseline projections showing that in 2031 small cities are expected to contribute an additional 9.8 per cent to national output growth.
This is the first report in the RAI Research Agenda on Great Small Cities. It positions small cities as the powerhouse of national economic growth, showing a clear need for policy intervention to deliver on their future potential. Future work will engage directly with how to design and implement City Deals for the good of all cities and the nation. If you would like to be involved in the discussion, contact us.