The CEOs of some of the country’s most influential peak bodies have met with three government ministers in Canberra today, to help set the National Alliance for Regionalisation’s key goals for the coming year.
The Alliance, the first of its kind in Australia, was established by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) in March and is made up of 34 organisations working together to bring to life the Regionalisation Ambition 2032 – a 10 year, 20 goal plan designed to help decision-makers prepare for an Australia where more people live in the regions.
RAI CEO Liz Ritchie said today’s meeting heard from the Hon Catherine King MP, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Jason Clare MP, Minister for Education, and the Hon Clare O’Neil MP, Minister for Home Affairs.
“Collaboration between government, industry, business and community will be the key in progressing the Ambition and we thank Ministers King, Clare and O’Neil for meeting with the Alliance during a sitting week of parliament,” Ms Ritchie said.
“Today, we were able to reflect on the progress that has been made on the Ambition in its first year, but more importantly we looked ahead to 2024 to identify the Alliance’s top priorities for the coming 12 months.
“They include developing skills in our regions for today and the future, looking at post-school qualifications and career pathways, housing in the regions, migration and settlement in our regions, and supporting regional communities in the energy transition.
“Health will also be a key focus in the new year, with a recent National Rural Health Alliance report finding each year there is an underspend of $6.5 billion on rural health – which means nearly 30 per cent of our nation's population is not receiving the healthcare they deserve, need and are paying for.”
Ms Ritchie said this year has also seen regional Australia prominently – and rightly – highlighted in the development of government policy, such as Jobs and Skills Australia’s commitment to a Regional Jobs and Skills Roadmap, and the creation of the Housing Australia Fund.
The Alliance has also provided feedback to the Federal Government on its Review of the Migration System, highlighting concerns that the government’s final report does not accurately represent the true positive impact of regional migration and what it can achieve in the future.
Minister Clare provided the Alliance with an update on the Universities Accord, which has identified the hurdles many young regional Australians face when contemplating university: the tyranny of distance, the cost of living away from home, and the toll of the disconnection from family and friends.
Whilst Minister O’Neil spoke about the Federal Government’s soon-to-be released Migration Strategy against the backdrop of regional and remote Australia.
The Alliance meeting comes as the RAI prepares to host its final event of the year – Regions Rising NSW.
At the one-day event in Orange tomorrow, Ms Ritchie will reveal what progress NSW has made on the Regionalisation Ambition 2032, as well as release the Institute’s newest research report, Against the Odds: Realising Regional Australia’s Workforce Potential, which focuses on providing solutions to help fill the 91,000 roles currently vacant in regions, including recommendations to strengthen local workforces and boost regional economies.
Media are invited to attend Regions Rising NSW, to be held at Banksia Orange from 8:30 AM Thursday, 16 November, and are asked to register via email.
The Hon. Tara Moriarty, Minister for Agriculture, Regional NSW, and Western NSW will deliver a keynote address at 9:20 AM.
Against the Odds - Realising Regional Australia’s Workforce Potential was funded by the Australian Government and State Government partners.