The latest round of funding will be used to improve phone coverage in regional and rural communities, along transport routes and in popular seasonal tourism destinations.
A recent Senate Estimates inquiry into the Australian Government’s Smart Cities plan has confirmed the growing importance of regional capital cities like Tamworth, which are now eligible for a regional city deal.
The news came when Senators asked officials from the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities to verify the benefits of the Smart Cities Plan to regional Australia.
Here at Regional Capitals Australia HQ we decided it was time to reach out to our members and learn more about your regional capitals – your vision for your city, your infrastructure priorities and the challenges facing the region. Our first interview is with Councillor Margaret O’Rourke, Mayor of the City of Greater Bendigo.
Cr O’Rourke worked at Telstra for 31 years then started her own consultancy business in communications and economic development projects. Margaret was born and raised in Bendigo and has two daughters, one 12 and one just turned 16. Cr O’Rourke currently serves as Deputy Director at the Bendigo Kangan Institute, Director of Goulburn Murray Water and Director of the Bendigo Health Care Group.
With a federal election approaching, Regional Capitals Australia will be sitting down with relevant Ministers and Shadow Ministers to get their views on all things regions and regional capitals.
Our first interview for the year is with the hon Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Leader of The Nationals and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Member for Riverina, which includes the regional capital city of Wagga Wagga.
Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) recently presented a submission to the Standing Economics Reference Committee into the indicators of, and impact of, regional inequality in Australia.
The submission aimed to provide the Australian government with the basis for a proactive regional development investment and policy framework that will grow regional capital cities, whilst also addressing two of Australia’s challenges impacting the nation’s ability to achieve balanced economic and social outcomes:
- the congestions in major metropolitan cities; and
- the continuation of access to services and infrastructure in small rural towns.
Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) has welcomed initiatives within the Federal Budget 2018.
RCA Chair, Mayor Shane Van Styn stated the budget included important big-ticket items such as significant road investments across regional Australia and new health initiatives.
We welcome Senator Bridget McKenzie’s announcement of a regional telecommunications review that will examine the telecommunications services available in regional capitals, along with rural and remote areas.
The review will examine the affect and opportunities associated with rapidly evolving technologies on regional communications.
This is an important review, as regional capitals need to be connected to other regions and to the world.
The Committee will call for submissions shortly and will visit regional and rural areas later in the year for public consultation, with their report to government due at the end of September 2018.
The new Infrastructure Australia 2018 Priority List was released this month with $55 billion worth of ‘nation shaping’ projects.
Of these, 6 are listed as High Priority Projects, 6 are Priority Projects, 24 High Priority Initiatives, and 60 Priority Initiatives. 4 were for projects that will affect regional capital cities.
On Wednesday, March 28 and Thursday March 29, a delegation of members form Regional Capitals Australia were in Canberra to meet with federal ministers and relevant advisors. Topics of discussion included regional development, infrastructure, regional communications and rural health. Topics of our pre-budget discussions included regional development, decentralisation and city deals, with a particular focus on decreasing the population threshold which currently restricts eligibility for city deals.
This week, local councils met in Geelong to set the agenda on growth across Australia’s regional cities.
The annual Regional Capitals Australia planning day held in the City of Greater Geelong’s Town Hall and was attended by representatives from Ballarat, Geraldton, Coffs Harbour, Geelong, Latrobe, Shepparton and Griffith.
Members were also able to present an overview of each of their cities to the board and discuss the ‘number 1’ priority project for their municipality, before breaking into groups for a range of workshops covering strategic direction and regional development.