New survey results released today by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) show more than 80 percent of people believe Australia’s population should be more evenly spread between our metropolitan cities and regional areas.
RAI CEO Liz Ritchie said the survey, carried out from March to June this year, was part of the RAI’s wider Regionalisation consultation process, engaging with more than 2000 people across the country.
“After more than a decade of research, our evidence points firmly towards the conclusion that Australia will be a stronger and more prosperous nation if our regions are stronger,” Liz Ritchie said.
“This survey shows overwhelming support for regionalisation in this country, where our regional towns and cities have the infrastructure, the services, the employment, the investment, and the people that they need to grow and thrive and take their rightful place in Australia’s story,” Ms Ritchie said.
“We know the move towards a handful of ‘megacities’ is not the right trajectory for Australia – instead, we must unlock the productivity and economic potential of Australia’s regional cities and communities, and shift the dial in the right direction,” Liz Ritchie said.
Almost 40 percent of respondents to the Regionalisation survey currently live in a metropolitan area or large regional city with a population of more than 50,000 people.
Survey respondents worked mainly across the private sector (31%) and various levels of Government (31%), followed by 20% who worked in the not-for-profit sector and 5% in Academia (with the remaining not currently in work, or noting a specific occupation).
“Survey participants were asked to rank specific options discussed in the Regionalisation Consultation Paper for growing population in the regions. Overwhelming support for a remote and hybrid work arrangement came out as the number one choice,” Ms Ritchie said.
“Australia has no single national approach which brings together the various elements needed to unlock regional Australia’s potential and rebalance the population. This is a clear void that we aim to fill when we launch the Regionalisation Ambition 2032, at our National Summit in Canberra next month.
The Regionalisation Ambition 2032 will set out a framework for collaborative action over the next decade - focussing on five key priority areas: Population, Jobs and Skills, Liveability, Productivity and Innovation, and Sustainability and Resilience.
“At the RAI, we are creating a movement focused on improving the life and prosperity of our regions so that Australia can reap the benefits of a more balanced nation.
“Our Summit will also see corporate commitment to this campaign, with the unveiling of the Regional Australia Council pledges. We also look forward to highlighting the support of our Regional Activators Alliance members across the country,” Ms Ritchie said.
The RAI’s National Summit - Rebalancing the Nation – will be held on the 13-14 September at Hotel Realm in Canberra. This two-day hybrid event brings together more than 350 stakeholders from around the country. Tickets are still available. To find out more details, please click here.
Media are invited to attend the event, but are asked to register interest by emailing [email protected]
N.B The survey was part of a broader consultation period conducted by the RAI, with more than 500 people nationally completing the survey component. Respondents per State are as follows – NSW 33.3%, QLD 17.25%, VIC 20%, TAS 2.94%, ACT 2.35%, SA 10.39%, NT 0.78% and WA 12.55%.
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Regional Australia Institute