Regional Housing and Jobs – RAI is delivering solutions that work for regions
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Regional Australia Institute

 CEO Update

April 2022



Liz Ritchie
CEO, Regional Australia Institute (RAI)

For more than a decade, our dedicated research focussed on regions has firmly informed us that now is the time for an ambitious national plan for life outside of our capitals.

The latest jobs vacancy figures are testament to that fact, with more than 84,000 jobs advertised in regions in March – yet again another record broken. Just three years ago that figure was around 46,000. As we travel around the country, we know employers are looking for staff and they need appropriate housing to accommodate them.

Australia has no single national framework which draws together the various themes that are required to unlock the potential for regional Australia. Our National Regionalisation Framework aims to fill that void.

Since launching our Consultation Paper last month, we've been engaging broadly across the nation with industry, government and community stakeholders to bring this to life — and I am delighted to say it's been well supported.

To help develop the Framework, we are asking you to let us know what aspects of regional Australia must be strengthened, promoted or preserved. How can we continue to grow sustainably, optimising future opportunities, whilst ensuring the quality of life in our regions is not undermined? What are the best levers to achieve this? We invite you to take our survey and we hope you can join our webinar on Thursday 12 May to discuss regionalisation. Please register here.

Given the timing of the impending election, we hope to see these principles reflected in the policies and funding commitments being made over the next few weeks. But perhaps more importantly, what we genuinely seek is investment and commitment that is bi-partisan and holds regional people at its core.

As our regions continue to grow, we need to ensure that this transition is well supported to attract and retain talent; to support appropriate education and future skills development, to bolster healthcare and allied health services, to focus on private and public housing; and other critical soft infrastructure such as childcare and community services.

Next month, we are again back on the road for our next hybrid Regions Rising event in Mount Gambier, South Australia on Tuesday 10 May where we'll launch the next stage of our regional housing research. South Australian Minister for Regional Development, the Hon. Clare Scriven MLC and our Chief Economist, Dr Kim Houghton will both deliver keynote addresses. We'll be sharing solutions that regional leaders are taking to address their housing needs. For in-person and virtual tickets please click here.

At the RAI, we know that regional Australia is not one homogenous place — which is why solutions for economic and social growth need to be implemented using a place-based approach. Our next round of regional housing research identifies five regional housing markets and the factors that make them distinctive.

This is the first detailed analysis of Australia’s regional housing markets, and it provides clear evidence of the need to tailor policy solutions to help increase much needed supply in each of these markets.

The research shows why regional centres like Charters Towers or Port Augusta, with relatively low-cost housing and low levels of residential investment, require a different set of solutions than Devonport or Wangaratta, with higher house prices and history of more residential investment. It is important that policy makers at all levels of government take these differences into account when deciding the most effective actions to alleviate the housing squeeze being felt across many regions.

We look forward to launching our latest research in Mount Gambier and hope you will join us to discuss this critical issue. For more information about the RAI's housing research, please find Building the Good Life on our brand new website.

On 15 June, we'll head north to Toowoomba. Tickets for the Queensland event will go on sale shortly. If you are a business that would like to work with us for this event, please contact
[email protected]. We look forward to seeing many of you in the beautiful Garden City. If you can't make it in person, remember you can join us online.

Until next month, stay safe and stay connected.
Liz Ritchie
Tuesday 10 May
In-person and virtual tickets
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Thursday 12 May
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