Infrastructure and Essential Services
Access to physical infrastructure and services is an essential component of economic activity and competitiveness. While it requires a substantial investment to establish, it is vital for economic development of regional areas. A majority of the Australian population has relatively good access to ‘hard’ infrastructure such as rail and roads.
[In]Sight reinforces that more remote LGAs have less access to infrastructure with a particularly strong reduction in local essential services. This makes investment in remote airports and technology access essential to both social and economic outcomes.
Remote and very remote regions are at a significant disadvantage for this theme, scoring poorly in health and education services. Regional Cities are very competitive on this theme, with performance similar to metropolitan areas on several measures such as uptake of tertiary education, health services employment, GP services, and access to road and rail.
OUR GREATEST COMPETITIVE CHALLENGE – MINIMISING THE COMPETITIVE IMPACT OF DISTANCE
Distance has a formidable effect on infrastructure outcomes. Many regional areas face structural disadvantages due to the remoteness of its location. While locality cannot be changed, its consequences can be mitigated. In order to do so effectively, regions need to identify and focus on strategies that minimise the adverse competitive impact of distance.
Towns that are similar in population and other characteristics have vastly different levels of competitiveness. This is due to proximity to major cities which provide access to essential services.
Innovative approaches including utilisation of online education, e-health initiatives and productive use of the National Broadband Network (NBN) are important to overcome the systematic lack of infrastructure delivery faced by regions.
A theme analysis is available here.
The full report is available here.