Last week, the Senate voted to refer for inquiry the contribution and future role of regional capitals in Australia to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee.

The motion to commence the inquiry was moved by Senator Peter Whish-Wilson.  Senator Whish-Wilson said of the Inquiry, “In this parliament we spend a lot of time developing policy for big cities and quite a bit of time on rural policies, especially relating to agriculture, but we spend no time at all on the special needs of the unique middle-sized cities dotted around our country… The Inquiry will investigate what policies governments could pursue to help these cities thrive and relieve some of the pressure on the larger metropolises.”

Regional capitals lag behind national performance indicators on most economic and social measures. Significantly, regional capitals have 6 per cent lower productivity per worker than the national average, a situation that must be addressed if Australia is to achieve its national growth target of around 3 per cent.rca_header

Improved education, transport, population policy, health, services, infrastructure and management of natural resources are all critical to lifting productivity in regional Australia.

“This Inquiry marks an unprecedented level of endorsement in our capitals by the Federal Government, and is a promising milestone to building regional capitals that are a key part of the next generation of wealth and opportunity in Australia,” said RCA Chair and City of Wagga Wagga Mayor, Cr Rod Kendall.

Regional Capitals Australia has 26 member councils from Queensland, Western Australia, News South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. Over the past 12 months The Agenda Group and our partner Collective Position have worked along side Regional Capitals Australia to raise federal MPs’ awareness of the opportunity and growth potential in Australia’s 48 regional capitals, the home of almost 4 million Australians.

Click here for the full terms of reference for the Inquiry.