Infrastructure Australia has released a report identifying strengths and potential opportunities for future growth and investment in regional Australia, with a submissions deadline of 29 April 2022.
The aim of the Regional Strengths and Infrastructure Gaps report is to provide industry, government, businesses and the community with a guide on internal migration and growth since 2019.
The first quarter of 2021 saw the largest internal migration in Australia on record. Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive, Romilly Madew, admitted the “significant upswing in regionalisation – further accelerated by the pandemic – has compounded pressure on already stretched regional infrastructure assets and networks”.
To prepare the report, Infrastructure Australia worked with 48 Regional Development Australia committees who consulted with communities and regional stakeholders. The result reveals data, current knowledge and community perceptions in 48 separate reports.
The entire report is regional-specific and is available with an interactive map showing each region’s diverse assets, growth industries and infrastructure requirements. Designed to support discussion and feed into further planning, policies and investment solutions, the report found that many regions are keen to capitalise on new opportunities, but infrastructure is needed, according to Infrastructure Australia Chair, Col Murray.
The report’s key themes are:
- Realising a regional renaissance – expansion of population brings a need to develop new service models and deliver expected infrastructure to continue growth.
- Shared perspectives in changing regions – identification of common themes: unique impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic; a greater need for proactive planning; major projects to be community-led; a changing social landscape; and First Nations communities’ culture and connection to Country.
- Capitalising on Regional Strengths – recognition of existing assets and growth industries that continue to deliver benefit or attract new investment.
- Key existing assets: natural environment, gateway ports, education and research institutions, natural resources, transport infrastructure, strategic location, cultural heritage, climate and topography; health infrastructure, water infrastructure, specialised precincts, energy infrastructure, defence assets, major attractions and tourism brand.
- Key regional growth industries: agriculture, forestry and fishing, tourism, energy, knowledge sector, health care and social assistance, manufacturing, mining, transport, defence and aerospace.
- Prioritising Infrastructure Gaps – identification of three to four priority challenges and opportunities: Infrastructure Gaps most commonly highlighted included availability, diversity and affordability of housing; water security; mobile and broadband connectivity; access to further education and skills training; and connectivity through public transport networks.
- Spotlight on each region ¬– recognition each area’s diversity, opportunities and priorities by the 48 separate reports for further planning and to identify reform and investment options.
Image source: Transport for NSW