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RAI Launches New Toolkit to Help Country Towns Build Their Populations

March 18 2021

Regional communities wanting to grow now have access to a new resource to help them capitalise on the burgeoning national interest in Australia outside the city limits, Dr Kim Houghton, Chief Economist at the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), said today.

The Liveability Toolkit is a comprehensive, step-by-step practical guide for regional leaders looking to build their community populations.

“Australia is on the cusp of a new era, one in which regional Australian towns have the opportunity to grow and thrive like never before,” Dr Kim Houghton said.

The RAI’s Liveability Toolkit was launched this morning in Canberra by the Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, the Hon. Mark Coulton.

Minister Coulton said the Liveability Toolkit is a valuable and timely resource that will help regional leaders to build upon and complement action plans to help attract more people to the regions.

“This toolkit provides helpful strategies to help promote and position our regions to benefit from the increasing interest in regional Australia,” Minister Coulton said.

The Toolkit’s release comes a day after RAI launched its multi-million-dollar Move to More campaign, which encourages city residents to consider living, working and investing in regional Australia.

“We have a highly mobile population in Australia and regional ‘liveability’ has a strong role to play in influencing people’s decisions about where to live. Our work in this area identifies what people are looking for when choosing a new place to call home, and why they move to one location and not another.

“Every regional area has its unique strengths, challenges and vision. The Liveability Toolkit helps communities identify the population flows, job trends and liveability factors in their region, so they can target the type of people they need to prosper,” Dr Houghton said.

“As a general rule, people won’t move to a place unless they have access to a job and critical infrastructure, such as telecommunications, electricity supply and water. After that, however, more subjective liveability factors come into play,” Dr Houghton said.

Through its research, the RAI has identified six key factors that are important to different demographic groups when assessing a town’s liveability. These include:

  • Health services
  • Education services
  • Cost of Living
  • Amenity
  • Connection to community
  • Lifestyle and opportunity.

“There has never been a better time for regional communities to take stock, focus their efforts and create a viable, actionable plan to improve the factors that make people want to live in their town,” Dr Houghton concluded.

The Toolkit helps regional towns and cities identify their greatest liveability assets, and how to shape these to target the kinds of new residents most needed. It helps regional towns and cities move beyond the general and obvious benefits of regional living, to craft their liveability offer around the assets that really make them stand out,” Dr Houghton concluded.

Strengthening Liveability: A Toolkit for Rural and Regional Communities Looking to Grow is available on the Regional Australia website here

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