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What is Regional Australia?

What is regional Australia?

Regional Australia is a special place, as diverse as it is expansive. It means something different to everyone.

For the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), ‘regional Australia’ refers to everything beyond the major capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra – from remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, to inland and coastal towns and bustling regional hubs.

Key facts

Regional Australia is home to almost 10 million people - around 40% of the nation's population.

It generates about 34 percent of the nation’s economic output but has contributed more since the global financial crisis, highlighting the ability of our regions to lead national recovery after hard times.

Regional Australia is also at the forefront of productivity in more than one third of our industries, including healthcare and logistics.

Regional Australia policy approach 

Australia has hundreds of regional communities. Each one is unique, which means there can be no ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy approach.

Communities are shaped by how many people live there, the kind of work these people do, and the distance they live from major cities.

Using these key drivers of economic growth and change, the RAI in 2015 developed four distinct categories of regional settlements, known as The Foundations of Regional Australia:

  • regional cities
  • connected lifestyle regions
  • industry and service hubs
  • heartland regions

These categories allow researchers and policy makers to capture both the diversity and the common challenges faced by regional communities across the country. They provide a starting point for understanding the range of unique pathways to future prosperity that exist across regional Australia.