Think Australia, Think Regional
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Regional Australia Institute

 RAI CEO Update 


July
2020
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 Think Australia, Think Regional 


Liz Ritchie
CEO, Regional Australia Institute (RAI)

As Australians are grappling with the pandemic in varying degrees, it’s timely for us to pose the question of whether a regional renaissance may be the key to stimulating an economic recovery post-COVID-19. While the resource and agricultural regions are still driving national GDP, we must remember that there is a significant variation facing regions that are less diversified and rely heavily on tourism, hospitality and retail.

Fortunately, there is good news in the latest job figures which show new postings in regional Australia hit 11,000 in June; a 22 per cent increase from May. This compares well with an 11 per cent increase in new job postings in June in mainland state capitals.

Equally, the momentum for city dwellers reconsidering how and where they live and work is certainly stimulating the long-held opportunity to mobilise our population and to increase productivity even further.

We are continuing our engagement at all levels of government as we pursue our agenda to fill and skill regional jobs, to roll out a robust regionalisation strategy, to create and build a regional population target and to focus on what genuine liveability means for Regional Australia that will support our nation’s future

Regional Australia will play a pivotal role in accelerating the country’s economic recovery. At the RAI, we will continue to provide advice to government. Tomorrow, we look forward to hosting our next Regions Rising webinar – Regional Renaissance: Can we lead recovery? I’ll be joined by Rural Bank CEO Alexandra Gartmann, our Chief Economist Dr Kim Houghton, and Ivan Neville from the newly formed National Skills Commission. We’ll be discussing the status of regional business and employment for economic recovery. Our webinars are proving extremely popular, but it’s not too late to join us – for more information, go to regionsrising.regionalaustralia.org.au/webinar-series.

As you may know, the RAI has started the journey to change the narrative of Regional Australia and build a vision, incorporating stakeholders from all sectors to drive a societal shift to the regions. This campaign will be done at a national level to deliver results at a local level – for our regional towns and cities, as well as businesses and community groups in regions.

As part of the campaign, we have established the
Regional Australia Council 2031 (RAC2031). Last week we hosted the second meeting, where we welcomed two new members to the table – Australia Post and NAB. Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education The Hon. Andrew Gee addressed the members about the importance of regionalisation in both the public and private sectors.

We are developing, with the Council, a new citation called the Employer of Choice for Regional Australia (ECRA). Although still in its infancy, we believe this initiative has the power to transform the future of business in Australia, and drive the regionalisation of the workforce that many have been calling for – we included. Watch this space! A communique from the RAC2031 meeting will be available on our website later this week.

The next stage of our campaign will be the establishment of our Regional Activators Alliance, and this is where you might fit in.

Continuously improving and promoting Regional Australia is a shared responsibility, and we are asking you to get on board and be part of a national movement to show the rest of this country what Regional Australia really has to offer.

For this campaign to be successful and change the course of Australia’s population settlement patterns, we need your insights, knowledge and case studies. We are inviting you to work with us and show the country what makes your region unique.

We are putting the call out to local councils, economic development groups, regional business and industry to get in touch with us to discuss how you could be part of this once in a lifetime transformation. For more information, please email [email protected].

Until next time, stay connected and stay safe.

Liz Ritchie
CEO, Regional Australia Institute (RAI)
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