Today we're proud to publish our Regional Strengths and Infrastructure Gaps report, providing government, industry, businesses and the community with an evidence base to support regional growth, off the back of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent extreme events.
Explore our analysis through an interactive map
Read our Chair Col Murray's op-ed in The Australian
In developing this report, we partnered with 48 Regional Development Australia committees to conduct extensive consultation on community views. This was supported by engagement with key regional stakeholders, including businesses, peak bodies and industry groups, to help create a picture of each area’s diverse assets, incumbent growth industries and infrastructure requirements.
These region-specific analyses provide a lens to highlight and understand opportunities and prioritise investment. The Regional Strengths report also looks for commonalities to promote collaboration and knowledge sharing to enable proactive planning led by local communities.
“This is the first time a report of this magnitude has been conducted solely on Regional Australia that localises each area’s strengths and opportunities. It provides a foundation of data, knowledge and community perceptions to support future infrastructure planning, decision-making and network governance across the country," said our Chair, Col Murray.
“Our consultation highlighted that many regions are eager to capitalise on new opportunities and industries. However, they need to have robust, reliable and resilient infrastructure networks to tap into this growth. Governments at all levels, businesses and communities themselves, have acknowledged the need to address these challenges for many years, but too often they work in isolation."
The report is a starting point for discussion between all stakeholders to inform further planning, policy and investment solutions. Infrastructure Australia is actively encouraging feedback from the community. The period for comment on this report has been extended. Comments are now requested by 27 May 2022.
As reported in today's Australian Financial Review, The Australian, ABC, Herald Sun, Farm Weekly, The West Australian, Brisbane Times, Illawarra Mercury, Newcastle Herald, NT News and other publications, key themes of the research include:
- Realising a regional renaissance – expansion of population brings a need to rethink the way infrastructure is delivered.
- Shared perspectives of 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 actively considered.
- Capitalising on regional strengths – recognition of existing assets and growth industries that continue to deliver benefit or attract new investment.
- Key assets: natural environment, gateway ports, education and research, natural resources, transport, strategic location, cultural heritage, climate and topography; health, water, specialised precincts, energy, defence, and major attractions.
- Key industries: agriculture, forestry and fishing, tourism, renewable energy, knowledge sector, health care, social assistance, manufacturing, mining, transport, defence and aerospace.
- Prioritising infrastructure gaps – identification of three to five common priorities: availability, diversity and affordability of housing; water security; mobile and broadband connectivity; access to further education and skills training; and connectivity through transport networks.
- Spotlight on each area – recognition of each area’s diversity, opportunities and priorities by the 48 separate analyses for further planning and to identify reform and investment options.
Explore our interactive map
The Regional Strengths and Infrastructure Gaps interactive map is a tool to navigate the findings of the report, providing a snapshot of key Regional Strengths and Infrastructure Gaps for each region.
You can explore our map by region, regional strength, infrastructure gap or growth industry.
We want to hear from you
Thank you to everyone who collaborated with us to develop the Regional Strengths and Infrastructure Gaps report, we were privileged to engage with passionate stakeholders who are advocating for better outcomes in Australia's regions.
We're committed to ensuring the information outlined in the Regional Strengths report is current and accurately reflects the challenges and opportunities in Regional Australia, so we encourage all stakeholders to provide feedback and additional information to support this work program via the feedback form on our website.
The period for comment on this report has been extended. Comments are now requested by 27 May 2022.