Skip to main content

Regional housing solutions to be focus of National Summit

15 January 2024

Leaders from local, state and federal government, along with representatives from industry, peak bodies and the not-for-profit sector will gather in Canberra next month as part of a collective effort to discuss solutions to regional Australia’s housing needs.

The National Regional Housing Summit, an initiative of the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), the Real Estate Institute of Australia and Master Builders Australia; supported by the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, the Australian Forest Products Association, and the National Farmers Federation, will be held at Old Parliament House on February 9.

RAI CEO Liz Ritchie said a significant societal shift was underway in Australia and it was vital decision makers planned, funded, and implemented programs and policies that recognised that.

“Data shows us over the last decade the number of people choosing a life in regional Australia has been growing. The COVID pandemic supercharged this momentum, and more and more people are ‘voting with their feet’, choosing the regions as the place they want to live, work and play,” Ms Ritchie said.

“Capital city to regional relocations remain almost 12% above the pre-COVID average, and a further 3.5 million people have reported a desire to move regionally. This surge in people, combined with strong regional job growth and the role regional Australia will play in the nation’s transition to net zero, are putting pressure on regional housing like never seen before.

“At the same time, it must be recognised the challenges the regions face with housing are often different to metropolitan Australia. These challenges also vary region to region, so a bespoke approach is needed.”

Ms Ritchie said the Summit will focus on home ownership, social and affordable housing, and rental availability across the various regional housing market types, highlighting examples of regional housing success stories across the country, which others may be able to use as a model in their own communities.

“Regional Australia is far from homogenous, and what might work in Bendigo, likely won’t in Bowen or Broken Hill. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work and in some instances can cause significant unintended consequences. Adaptable initiatives that allow for place-based input need to be at the heart of addressing this issue, which is putting a stall on the regions’ ability to thrive,” Ms Ritchie said.

“For example, in western Queensland the Quilpie Shire Council has devised a unique grant scheme to attract new private investment in the region, while in regional Victoria the Pyrenees Shire has successfully overseen the development of a new subdivision to revitalise one of its small communities.”

Ms Ritchie said the RAI’s Regionalisation Ambition – a 10-year, 20-goal framework designed to help decision-makers preparing for an Australia where more people live in our regions – aims to see by 2032, the regional rental vacancy rate increase to above 3% and for annual building approvals to keep pace with population growth.

“Current data shows us there is much work that needs to be done to achieve that, but regional leaders are finding innovative and collaborative ways to combat a shortfall of housing and there are many lessons we can learn from them,” Ms Ritchie said.

“This Summit provides a unique opportunity for collaboration across government, industry, and the not-for-profit sector to shift their gaze to the regions and set the wheels in motion for 2024 to ensure real change is made this year on regional housing.”

A limited number of tickets, for both in-person and online attendance of the Summit, are still available via the RAI website.

Speakers include:

  • Regional Australia Institute CEO, Liz Ritchie
  • Real Estate Institute of Australia CEO, Anna Neelagama 
  • Master Builders Association Chief Executive, Denita Wawn
  • Independent Member for Indi, the Hon. Helen Haines MP
  • National Affordable Housing Chair, Karen Smith-Pomeroy
  • Planning Institute CEO, Matt Collins
  • Anglicare Executive Director, Kasy Chambers
  • Walkom Bros Pty Ltd Director, John Walkom


 Event Details 
 Title:  National Regional Housing Summit
 Date:  Friday February 9, 2024
 Time:  8:15am – 5:00pm
 Venue:  Old Parliament House, Canberra
 Platform:  In-person and online

Register to attend


For media enquiries contact:

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