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Regional Australia’s jobs problem needs more than a jobs solution

December 14 2022

The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) has highlighted the need for a multi-faceted and long-term approach to solving the jobs and skills crisis in regional Australia in their recent submission to Treasury’s Employment White Paper.

Regional Australia is currently experiencing its toughest recruitment market on record, with advertised vacancies reaching a peak of 94,100 in October 2022. Professional roles are highest in demand meaning many regional areas are competing with metro areas for talent.

According to RAI CEO, Liz Ritchie, solving the jobs and skills challenge for regional Australia isn’t as simple as moving people from cities into regional roles.

“We are grateful that we can contribute our research and insights to Treasury’s Employment White Paper process because we believe we are at a critical juncture for changing the fate of regional Australia and Australia’s overall prosperity,” she said.

“More people than ever before want to live in the regions, but this doesn’t mean we can keep people living in the regions or we will necessarily see people move from cities to fill regional roles.

“Despite record jobs on offer, a lot in industries of the future like agriculture, renewable energy, and critical infrastructure, many regions can’t accommodate the demand because of lack of housing options, essential services and access to skills and training.

“This is why our 10-year regionalisation framework, a set of targets to improve life in regional Australia, acknowledges that jobs targets need to be interlinked with targets and challenges in other areas like housing, like access to health services,” Ms Ritchie said.

The RAI launched its Regionalisation Ambition 2032 – A Framework to Rebalance the Nation in September 2022. The Ambition outlines 20 targets across five interlinked pillars including population, jobs and skills, productivity and innovation, liveability and sustainability and resilience. The goal of the Ambition is for more than 11 million Australians to be living prosperously in the regions by 2032, an increase on current projections.

A number of the Ambition’s targets have been called out in the RAI’s Employment White Paper submission.

“Addressing the regional jobs challenge, over the long-term, needs targets and attention placed on both retaining people in the regions by increasing skills and career paths and attracting new people.

“One of the strategies we highlight is a long-term target to increase the percentage of new migrants settling in regional areas to help address job shortages. Today, only 20% of migrants are settling in regional areas. We have set a target to double this over the next 10 years.”

Read RAI’s Employment White Paper

Read RAI’s Regionalisation Ambition 2032 

 For media enquiries contact:

Alexandra Macaulay
Regional Australia Institute
0409 652 465
[email protected]