There is rising interest in the potential for Australia’s regional areas to attract and sustain population and economic growth. This study investigated this potential, examining international and Australian models for supporting development beyond capital city centres. The project contributes to the wider AHURI Inquiry into population growth, migration, and agglomeration.
Overall, the study identified a number of promising models for regional areas to retain and attract populations and increase economic activity. Internationally, there has been a general trend towards place-based regional interventions. These place-based interventions focus on unique regional attributes and opportunities, and seek to build on under-utilised potential by addressing infrastructure blockages or skill shortages.
Another key finding of this study is that strategies to support population and economic growth in regional areas can complement, rather than compete, with urban agglomeration in the major cities. Dual strategies recognise the continued economic importance of the major cities, while also fostering regional areas as independent economic growth areas.
Eight case study regions were selected to examine planning and development approaches across different regional contexts in Australia, A clear message to emerge from the case studies was that population and economic growth are not on their own sufficient to drive sustainable and balanced employment outcomes, and that ‘success’ should be measured more broadly, by also looking into liveability, environmental impacts and the social impacts of growth.