Stronger regions build a stronger Australia

The Business Council welcomes Labor’s commitment today to better planning and connectivity in Australia’s regions, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“Regional Australians are crying out for the infrastructure and planning processes they need to get investment flowing into their towns and cities, this is a good step in the right direction.

“Investment in our regions is win-win, it helps take pressure off our congested major cities by making the regions more attractive to new people, and it gives regions the skilled workers and thriving local economies they need.  

“Our regions have huge potential but we need to get the settings right to realise it. Employers are committed to working with regional communities to invest in new projects, new jobs and higher wages.  

“Regions are the backbone of Australia, they deserve the improved skills system, better planning and infrastructure investment needed to keep growing.  

“Over the past 12 months as we’ve travelled to Bathurst, Gladstone, Busselton, Toowoomba, Geelong, Townsville, Cairns, Hobart, Adelaide, Broadmeadows and Penrith the message from regional Australia has been clear, regional Australians want businesses investing in regional Australia. That’s why we developed A plan for a stronger Australia to deliver the practical action Australians want to lock in growth for the whole community.”

The Business Council has developed a to do list to make regional Australia even stronger.

The to do list:

Audit the strengths and weaknesses of key regional areas.

Target infrastructure dollars to regional centres with the best potential to grow.

Consider incentives such as fast-tracking planning approvals to encourage businesses to set up shop and invest in regional Australia.

Make sure regional centres are connected to other cities with good transport links for people and freight.

Make sure regional Australia has fast and reliable digital connections, including the National Broadband Network.

 Urgently reform the post-secondary education and skills system. Remove the cultural and funding bias against vocational education and training by moving to a single funding model for both VET and higher education.

 Set up a single information platform so students and workers have a one-stop-shop to find out about jobs in demand, potential earnings, what to study, how long it will take, and what it will cost.

 Give every Australian a Lifelong Skills Account to pay for their training and education needs through their working lives, allowing them to choose where, what and when they study.

 Create a national apprenticeship system that encourages employers to take on young workers.

Download the Business Council’s  Plan for a stronger Australia here.

Read the stories of businesses supporting regional Australia here.