“They have all benefited from being close to a larger state capital or, in the case of Albury-Wodonga, being a major transport and logistics interchange on the New South Wales border. and Victoria.
“In addition, they all have important regional service roles as administrative headquarters for local and sometimes state services, and health, education, business and retail services.”
In almost all of the Australian regional cities examined, the most important industrial sectors in terms of employment were health care and social assistance, followed by retail or education.
The research highlights the importance of infrastructure, transport and telecommunications in attracting and maintaining employment and people in regional areas. It shows that higher levels of government support through funding grants, decentralization of government agencies, and investments in universities, hospitals and other large facilities have helped to diversify local economies and led to the creation of ‘high quality local jobs.
“A clear message is emerging that population and economic growth alone are not sufficient to generate sustainable and balanced employment outcomes, and that ‘success’ should be measured more broadly, also looking at quality of life. , environmental impacts and social impacts of growth, ”said Professor Gurran.
While none of the international cases reviewed have been unambiguously successful, they offer several perspectives, including the importance of long-term regional planning and coordination. Their success is built over time, supported by concrete objectives at regional level for a balanced development of housing and employment.
The case studies also reveal that, when selecting new opportunities for specialization and economic growth, it is important to identify industries with high long-term potential. This includes those that are not likely to be automated. It also means identifying opportunities that can be outsourced from major cities to regional Australia, and where regions have advantages over international outsourcing.
“The move to the regions could be the precursor to rebalancing Australia’s colonization and population growth; but it must be foreseen; with the current housing crises in the regions that must be overcome to ensure that the long-term benefits of a more balanced urban and regional settlement model can be sustained, ”said Prof Gurran.