Regional Towns and Cities

Cities and Towns Inquiry icon

Regional development is about the communities in our towns and cities. How policies are developed and respond to the opportunities and needs of different regional towns and cities is the heart of regional development.

This inquiry program looks at key issues that will shape the economic development of our towns and cities.

Project 1 (Major Project):Regional Cities and Towns Project 1 icon
Settlement Patterns and Economic Growth

Australia’s regional cities are comparable to the larger metro areas when it comes to growth and productivity. However, our development discussion assumes they have little or no role to play in future population growth. As the Australian population creeps closer to a predicted 40 million people, these great small cities will become even more important to our national economy. The potential benefits of growing regional cities and towns, while we increase population density within the existing foot print of our mega-cities, has not been investigated.

This project will investigate the potential benefits and costs of shifting future settlement patterns by reducing the urban sprawl around our largest cities and enabling faster growth for a connected network of regional cities and towns. It aims to inform and influence future population policy and infrastructure planning for our four largest cities.

Project 2:Regional Cities and Towns Project 2 icon
Policy Interventions for City Growth

Regardless of our decisions on major city settlement patterns, our largest regional cities and towns will continue to enjoy good prospects for growth by harnessing their economic potential. However, the policy and local strategies for supporting small city and larger town growth have not been fully explored for Australia.

This project will analyse the current policy options supporting the growth of our regional cities, evaluate their effectiveness, and provide practical guidance to policy makers and regional leaders about their application in Australia.

Project 3:Regional Cities and Towns Project 3 icon
Regulatory Flexibility in Regions

Regulations are designed by governments to structure access to, and ensure the quality of, services for health, education, welfare and economic development. In regions that are smaller and more remote, some of these regulations can be more of a hindrance than a help, because they are designed primarily for urban conditions. There are ways minimum requirements, for example, can be altered to deliver good outcomes in different places, particularly when the alternative is no service at all.

This project will investigate and propose options for governments to enable greater regulatory flexibility, so regions can actively seek alterations to regulations. This will ensure their unique service needs are met, and scarce government resources are well spent in different places.

Contact Inquiry Leader

Kim Houghton
p. 02 6260 3733
e. [email protected]

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