New data out today from the Regional Australia Institute affirming that Australians are switching the city for the regions in record numbers is further evidence that now is the time to think differently about how we invest in and plan for the future of regional Australia according to NFF CEO Tony Mahar.
“Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put the policy and investment settings in place that will supercharge our regions: providing jobs, services and a lifestyle that is second to none.
“The NFF’s welcomes the ongoing work by RAI and also the Government’s recognition of this opportunity with the elevation of the newly-named ‘Regionalisation’ portfolio to Cabinet under the auspice of Senator Bridget McKenzie.
“We look forward to briefing Senator McKenzie on the NFF-led Regionalisation Agenda which is supported by leading organisations, including RAI, all with an interest in and a vision for regional Australia.
“Having worked with Senator McKenzie in other portfolios, we know her to be a passionate advocate for the bush and welcome this new role as a chance to establish real momentum behind regionalisation.”
Mr Mahar said the recommendations of the Regionalisation Agenda challenged governments to direct the same level of resources for the place-based development of regional centres as is in place for areas like Western Sydney.
“A key recommendation within the paper is for National Cabinet to identify 20 placed-based regional development precincts, with a focus on a renaissance of food and fibre manufacturing.
“We also ask that National Cabinet to be responsible for delivering and reporting on regional development outcomes metrics such as access to high-speed internet; the cost and reliability of electricity and the incomes of regional Australians as compared to their city counterparts.”
Mr Mahar said there was no time to waste in acting on a bona fide plan for regionalisation.
“The benefits of getting this right will be multi-pronged: economic and lifestyle opportunities for both existing regional Australians and new comers and a much-needed pressure release for our congested capital cities.”
See NFF’s Regionalisation Agenda here