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.
The Department confirmed there is now no population restriction for cities with aspirations to secure a regional city deal. Previously the City Deals program had targeted bigger regional cities and metropolitan capitals with populations of 85,000 or more.
In regional cities where city deals have been signed (Townsville and Launceston) there has been a commitment from the three levels of government as well as the private sector to bring significant investment to town – which means more jobs, a better lifestyle and more opportunities all round.
Regional Capitals Australia, the organisation I Chair, has been advocating for exactly this outcome. We do this because all regional capital cities are increasingly important not only to the region it serves but also to Australia’s economic future.
Regional capital cities – small and large – serve as fundamental regional hubs, providing access to essential economic and social services for residents of the cities but also for those living in the surrounding towns.
Regional capital cities also offer alternatives for business and families to escape the crushing congestion and growing unaffordable lifestyles of big cities like Melbourne.
Regional Capitals Australia congratulates Deputy Prime Minister McCormack and Minister for Regional Development, Dr John McVeigh for recognising the value of regional capital cities small and large and looks forward to working with the Government on developing a clear regional city deal application process.