Liz Ritchie CEO Regional Australia Institute (RAI)
This is our final newsletter for 2020, and what an incredible year it’s been. Our Regionalisation strategy has taken shape and the long list of highlights for the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) is testament to our remarkable team, our supporters and our engaged regional audience. Thank you for your commitment to us and to the prosperity of Regional Australia.
Rapid adoption and adaptation are themes that have resonated in 2020 and now is the opportunity to reimagine a new future for our nation. Regional Australia has demonstrated its continued traits of strength, resilience and innovation; and has most certainly led the COVID-19 recovery on a number of fronts, including the record 54,000 job vacancies last month. Equally, the challenge of COVID-19 has finally helped to fast track the future of work, enabling the population to stop, reflect and perhaps “Rethink Regional”.
Last week, I was honoured to present to the new National Cabinet for Rural and Regional Reform, Chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister. The purpose was two- fold; to share our strategy for Regionalisation, and share the work behind the National Awareness Campaign - which will be launched in March 2021. Continuously improving and promoting Regional Australia is a shared responsibility. The Federal Government has unpinned this important impact project, but to deepen and further amplify our reach we’ve extended an invitation to all jurisdictions to be part of the regionalisation of our nation. We have this window of opportunity, which will be a turning point in the population settlement trends for our regions and our nation.
The purpose of the campaign is to build a new image for Regional Australia that ensures attitudes, knowledge and awareness of the opportunities that exist to live, work or invest in the regions are transformed. It aims to understand the sentiment of metropolitan Australia through qualitative and quantitative research, and use this knowledge to develop a compelling narrative to create a societal shift in Australian’s views and perceptions of Regional Australia. It is our ambition to plant a seed of hope for a new future, a future that is built in Regional Australia.
Decentralisation is not a new idea, but regionalisation is. Regionalisation is a holistic way of thinking about the regions, from repositioning Regional Australia in the minds of metropolitan audiences, to supporting this with integrated people and policy strategies across all governments. The RAI is proudly leading this with our partners through all levels of government, the Regional Australia Council 2031 (RAC2031) and the Regional Activators Alliance (RAA).
Over 2020, our Shared Inquiry Program has had a focus on regional resilience and recovery, and we are excited to start seeing the outcomes of this research from our university partners. You can read a summary here, and keep your eye out for the full reports to be released in 2021.
Finally, our RAI 2019-20 Annual Report was released last month and it captures the breadth of work and indeed the vast changes that are occurring as we continue our transition as a business. Once again, thank you to all of our supporters; we are eternally grateful and look forward to working with you again in 2021.
Until next year, you can stay up to date on all things regional via our socials, @RegionalAus
I wish you a safe, restful and most of all relaxing festive season!
IN THE NEWS Pandemic proving a boom for regional Australia| Andy Park | ABC 7.30 The regions are "open for business" and many regional towns are seeing a jobs boom like never before. Watch the story that aired on ABC's 7.30 Report here: abc.net.au/7.30
IN THE NEWS Living the Dream: Australia's regional revival is real| Greg Bearup | The Weekend Australian Magazine
We love this piece by Greg Bearup about the regional renaissance that's happening around the country - this story has a particular focus on the Orange region. Read it here: theaustralian.com.au/weekend-australian-magazine