Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) Chair, Mayor Shane Van Styn has said the Australian Government should act quickly to announce the next round of regional city deals to address the issues highlighted in today’s release of the Productivity Commission’s Transitioning Regional Economies report.
Commissioned by Treasurer, the Hon. Scott Morrison, the Commission’s report aimed to understand the impact of transitioning regional economies following the resources boom.
Key findings highlighted that although most regions (80%) were experiencing job growth, including many regional cities in mining areas, there were pockets of stress in regional Australia. This was particularly the case in smaller rural towns that were at the forefront of mounting declines in manufacturing and ongoing automation in agriculture.
“There are no surprises here, we know regional economies have been slowing transitioning from purely primary production to a demand for technical and service based jobs,” Mayor Van Styn said.
“Today’s report however makes it clear that regional capital cities are continuing to grow as services centres, allowing smaller rural towns more access to health, education, professional services, sporting and cultural facilities found in our cities,” he said.
It is the position of RCA that to continue to unlock regional innovation, much more can be done to ensure knowledge based roles are available in regional areas – so where the local economy is changing – people can reskill and don’t have to move away from their homes.
Additionally, regional capital cities are a viable and immediate option for businesses and people looking to escape the crushing congestion that is a daily battle in the major metropolitan cities.
“Outside of the decentralisation policy announced this week, the government already has a framework for building smart cities, so announcing the next round of regional city deals could be done relatively quickly,” he said
“Building strong regional cities will deliver more opportunities for all people living in regional Australia – we see this issue as fundamental,” he said.
“Let’s remember, unlike the big five metropolitans who are costing the nation every day in congestion, our 29 member regional capital cities are ready and willing to grow today – for the betterment of all regional Australians,” Mayor Van Styn concluded.
Rachael Sweeney, Regional Capitals Australia Secretariat
P: 03 9666 3368
M: 0422 067 858
Available for Interview
Mayor Shane Van Styn – Chair, Regional Capitals Australia
Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) is a national alliance of local government councils across the nation representing Australia’s regional cities. RCA’s mission is to provide a recognised platform to champion the strategic importance and sustainable development of regional capitals around the nation. To learn more about our work visit http://regionalcapitalsaustralia.org