June 21, 2019 Angela Scicluna

Strategic Investment Required for Regional Growth

The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) has this week released a new report as part of the think-tank’s Regions Rising series.

The report Regional Growth Prospects was the focus of the Western Australia event and aims to provide local leaders with new evidence that will assist in the task of growing regional economies.

“Regional Growth Prospects” highlights that business-led specialisation in the four industries can help regions maintain their national and international competitiveness through:

  • Tourism;
  • Creative industries;
  • Food processing; and
  • Advanced manufacturing.

These industries have been found to be critical to the economic future of regional Australia. Two of these industries, food and agribusiness and tourism, are predicted to grow strongly in the coming decade in response to expectations of growth in international demand and Australia’s comparative advantage.

Advanced manufacturing, however, is highly important in a small number of regions, reflecting both historical strengths and great adaptability and engagement in global supply chains. While creative industries have a vital role in supporting business innovation, and underpinning the cultural vitality of regions.

These four industries are largely driven by the private sector, are most susceptible to market forces, and have significant potential contributions to regional growth. However, employment in these four industries is not distributed evenly across regional Australia, and growth and change in these industries will not impact all regions equally.

Key policy recommendations from the report are for the Government to:

  1. Examine workforce and skill availability in regional Australia, and fill new jobs through regional migration or learning systems;
  2. Create policy and investment for regions where growth is vital to their economic success; and
  3. Consider a region’s past employment growth when creating policy to:
    1. Remove or reduce barriers preventing regional growth, and
    2. Support new economic activity in specialised regions through increased employment and business opportunities.

If regions are to be successful, targeted regional investment is required to increase job prospects in each region.

For further information on the growth of regional economies or to view the report, please click here.