What regional Australia really needs – RAI unveils results
It’s something many have been asking as we near closer to the federal election and now the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) has the answer to the burning question – What is it that regional Australia really needs?
Today, the results of the RAI’s Policy Hack held at its inaugural Regions Rising National Summit in Canberra have been officially unveiled and the message is clear and consistent – governments need to invest in people.
RAI co-CEOs, Dr Kim Houghton and Liz Ritchie said the message from the Summit was very strong and called for a new approach to regional policy in Australia.
“Our policy hacks asked more than 250 stakeholders from across regional Australia to put their experience on the table and come up with solutions to drive regional Australia forward – on the big-ticket items surrounding regional jobs, health, population and regional place-based policy,” Dr Houghton said.
The four key themes that emerged throughout the policy hack sessions included:
1. Investing in ‘soft’ infrastructure – human capital and liveability;
2. Governments and regions working together;
3. Empowering regions through flexibility and place-based policy; and
4. Shifting the narrative of regional Australia.
While the group was as diverse as regional Australia itself, the discussions all ended up at the same conclusion – regional Australia needs this top-down, one-size-fits-all, big infrastructure approach to change.
“While we know investment in infrastructure such as roads, rail and airports is critical, our research is showing that regional Australia needs a rebalanced direction. Investing is human capital has to be pushed further up the agenda to meet jobs demand of the future,” Dr Houghton said.
The RAI’s Regional Jobs Update released for the first quarter show there are now more than 46,000 job vacancies around regional Australia.
“There are many examples of where regional communities are ahead of government and driving their own communities through locally-led strategies around education and jobs – and people want to be supported,” Liz Ritchie said.
“People will drive prosperity, people will drive jobs growth, people will drive investment and therefore people are the engine for our regional economies,” Liz Ritchie said.
“The successful development of regional Australia depends on all of us to promote the opportunities of our towns and regional cities – the story has to change,” Liz Ritchie concluded.
For a summary of Our Regions Rising – Policy Hack Outcomes 2019, please click here.
The RAI national roadshow, Regions Rising, continues next month in Perth on 12 June. Tickets are now available and details are on the website: regionsrising.regionalaustralia.org.au.
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