The role Victoria can play in rebalancing the nation will be the focus of the Regional Australia Institute’s (RAI) Regions Rising event in Geelong today.
In September last year, the RAI unveiled a framework for regional Australia to Rebalance the Nation. The Regionalisation Ambition 2032 is a 10 year plan with 20 goals that will put regional and metropolitan residents on a level playing field when it comes to services, infrastructure and investment.
RAI CEO Liz Ritchie said at the heart of the Ambition was an aim of having 11 million people living in regional Australia. In Victoria, that equates to an extra 85,000 living regionally by 2032.
“We know from the RAI’s Regional Mover Index this is achievable. In the 12 months to March this year, Melbournians made up more than 50% of the net outflows from capital cities to the regions, up from 44% the year prior,” Ms Ritchie said.
“In the same data set, Greater Geelong was found to be one of the top five local government areas in regional Australia for attracting newcomers. Meanwhile, in the 12 months to March, the Campaspe, Pyrenees and Moorabool regions were identified as growth hotspots, luring both city-dwellers and regional residents.”
When compared to the national figures, Victoria is well-placed to achieve several of the 2032 targets – having already exceeded and setting a new bar for school attainment.
“One of the goals the RAI has set out, is increasing the school attainment rate of young people in regional Victoria to 81% or above. In 2020 it was 76% in regional Victoria, compared with the national regional average of 65%,” Ms Ritchie said.
The Ambition also calls on Victoria to have a 90% or more of its regional areas classified as having a moderate to high capacity for disaster resilience by 2032. Currently, it sits at 83%, substantially higher than the national regional average of 50%.
Ms Ritchie said there was still work to be done to meet some of the Ambition’s other targets.
“We want to see more young people living in regional Victoria and the Ambition aims to have 35% of residents aged 15-39 living regionally,” Ms Ritchie said.
“Currently 29% of the 15-39 year age bracket live regionally, compared to 38% in Melbourne.”
Ms Ritchie said the RAI would also like to double the number of migrants who call regional Victoria home. Where almost 20% of overseas arrivals settle in our regions nationally, those arriving in Victoria each year and choosing to settle in the country fall below 10%.
“We need to let our new Australian residents know about the benefits of regional living – the space, the work-life balance and the welcoming communities,” Ms Ritchie said.
Job opportunities in the regions feature heavily in the RAI’s It’s Your Move campaign, which is also being launched today in Geelong.
It’s Your Move will dispel the myth ‘there are no jobs in the regions’ and lead a conversation with metropolitan city-dwellers about the thousands of well paid, professional positions on offer right now in regional Australia.
Ms Ritchie said the latest Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) shows in May there were 91,000 jobs advertised online in regional Australia, while the RAI’s recently released Big Skills Challenge report highlighted job vacancies in regional Australia grew at three times the rate of metropolitan Australian in December 2022.
“Right now, there are vacancies for a customer service officer in Geelong, an optometrist in Rockhampton, a business manager in Holbrook and a mechanic in Kalgoorlie,” Ms Ritchie said.
Job seekers can find out more about life in regional Australia through RAI’s Move to More website where there is information about current vacancies, housing, education, and regional highlights.
“Modelling undertaken by the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research shows that Australia’s GDP in 2032 would be $13.8b larger under a scenario of a larger regional population rather than a ‘business as usual’ population scenario,” Ms Ritchie said.
“By advocating for regionalisation, we are advocating for a better Australia for all.”
Media are invited to attend the RAI’s Regions Rising – Victoria event today, to be held in Geelong starting at 8.30am at GMHBA Stadium. Minister for Regional Development, The Hon. Harriet Shing, will deliver a virtual keynote address at 9:15am.
For media enquiries contact:
Regional Australia Institute
Ph: 0498 373 300
E: [email protected]