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Intergenerational Report puts regional Australia at the centre of nation’s future economy

24 August 2023

The release today of the 2023 Intergenerational Report (IGR) highlights how critical regional Australia is to the nation’s future over the next four decades.

Transitioning Australia to a net-zero economy has been called out as a major pillar for productivity gains over the next 40 years. Regional Australia, the traditional engine room of the nation’s productivity, will step up again as home to the majority of the country’s renewable and clean energy sectors with some predicting 90% of jobs to be based in regions.

Regional Australia Institute (RAI) CEO Liz Ritchie said supporting regional Australia in this generational transition is critical to the success of the nation’s overall productivity gains.

“Regional Australia has always played a key role in Australia’s productivity, driving key output industries like agriculture, fishing, mining, and manufacturing,” Ms Ritchie said.

“The transition to net zero will again see regional Australia in productivity’s driving seat, however this time, we have some major handbrakes, the result of decades of neglect.

“Lack of housing supply and diversity, chronic labour and skill shortages and poor access to medical services, childcare and aged care services are all holding regional Australia back.

“The government is right to call out addressing these entrenched and intergenerational disadvantages through placed-based policy as being critical.

“If we want to aim to be a clean energy superpower, supporting our growing populations in regions should be a first priority.”

The RAI launched the 10-year Regionalisation Ambition 2032 – a framework to rebalance the nation, in September last year and will release its first annual review of the 20 targets set, next month. Each target is categorised by a pillar – Jobs & Skills, Population, Productivity & Innovation,

Liveability and Sustainability & Resilience.

“We launched the Ambition with five pillars because we wanted to acknowledge that many of these issues are interlinked and require long-term thinking and planning,” Ms Ritchie said.

“Having a National Population Plan is a really necessary support step for driving productivity and to ensure our regions are in the best position to take full advantage of the opportunities the transition to net zero will provide.

“Our research shows that there are little future agglomeration benefits for productivity coming out of our major cities like Sydney and Melbourne which are on track to be mega cities by 2056.

“The biggest productivity gains will come from our regions – and we are currently in the best position we have ever been in to take advantage of this.

“Demand for life in regional Australia has never been higher. City to regional net-migration has been positive for the last two census periods showing that COVID was no blip. Net-migration is still around 16% higher than what it was pre-COVID.

“One in five Australians say they are considering a move to the regions, that is almost three million Australians thinking about city life differently.

“If we can meet and support this demand, we will bring the skills and services to our regions that are needed to drive the industries of the future and meet Australia’s productivity aspirations.”

The RAI will release its first progress report into its Regionalisation Ambition 2032 at the Regions Rising National Summit – Shifting Our Gaze to be held at Hotel Realm in Canberra on 13-14 September.

Media are invited to attend. For more information, please click here.

For media enquiries contact:

Regional Australia Institute 
Melinda Hayter
Ph: 0498 373 300
E: [email protected]