What is Regional Australia?

Regional Australia includes all of the towns, small cities and areas that lie beyond the major capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra).

Key Facts

Regional Australia contributes one third of our national output and is home to 8.8 million Australians. As a result, regions provide employment for one in three working Australians.

Regional Australia makes a formidable contribution to the nation’s economy. In fact, without its contribution, Australia’s economy would contract to the size it was in 1997.

Regions contributed half of our nation’s growth post Global Financial Crisis, fulfilling their role as a source of resilience for the economy to a tee.

The Regional Australia Institute’s work shows that regional productivity has been catching up to metropolitan regions across a range of industries. Regional Australia is at the forefront of productivity in over a third of our industries, including industries like healthcare and logistics.

Read more about the economic contribution of regional Australia

Read more about population dynamics in regions

What is Regional Australia?

Understanding Regional Australia

Australia has hundreds of regional communities – and each one is unique.

When people talk about regional Australia, they usually have one type of community in mind – small, isolated and rural. There are many communities like this in regional Australia, but most are different. The Regional Australia Institute identifies four groups of regional communities that capture both the diversity and the common challenges faced by regional Australians.

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Read more about these types of regions in the RAI’s Foundations of Regional Australia paper

Check out [In]Sight – Australia’s Regional Competitiveness Index and browse 624 profiles providing the statistics on every local area and region in Australia or read about the competitive advantages and challenges of each type of region in our ten theme analyses.

The Future

While the real story of regional Australia – diversity and growth – is far from the popular perception about regions we have much to do to realise regional Australia’s potential. It’s time to think differently about our regions and the role they play in the prosperity of our nation. 

To learn more about the future of regional Australia check out our new agenda and the policy solutions we see as crucial to long term success.