Unlocking opportunities in regional Australia

Media Release


28 January 2016

Joint release with:

Warren Truss

Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Regional communities will be asked to contribute to a revamped regional development policy to be crafted by the Coalition Government this year.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the policy will set out a long term vision for regional Australia.

“Grassroots input is central to our plans and over the coming months, Assistant Minister Michael McCormack will travel across the nation to talk to a diverse range of local community leaders, regional businesses, academic institutions and regional Australians,” Mr Truss said.

“These discussions will put regional communities, including Indigenous communities, firmly in the driver's seat by focusing on growing opportunities through nurturing innovation and investing in infrastructure.

“More often than not, the opportunities and solutions identified at the local level to meet local needs are the best. These meetings will be a direct channel for the Government to hear first-hand ideas that will harness the potential of regional Australia to build a more prosperous future—from the grassroots up.”

“When we look at the big opportunities for Australia today and the decades ahead, regional Australia is at the epicentre of real growth potential. Be it producing the highest quality agricultural products in the world, capitalising on our rich natural resources or opening up more innovative small businesses, regional Australia needs to be at the forefront of our nation's prosperity.

“We are already building first-class road and rail projects to underpin regional Australia's growth through our record $50 billion investment in infrastructure and opening up northern Australia to fresh opportunities.

“The Australian Government is all about powering the regions and the economy.”

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the Australian Government has worked hard to lay the foundations for the future development of Australia's regions, and that ongoing dialogue and partnerships with regional communities are crucial as the Australian economy responds to change.

“The Australian Government has invested heavily in the future of our regions, including our record $50 billion infrastructure programme with projects specifically targeting productivity improvements and creating regional jobs,” Mr McCormack said.

“In addition, our recently announced Innovation and Science Agenda provides opportunities for individuals and businesses right across Australia to unlock their innovative potential.

“Trade agreements with some of our biggest trading partners will open up some of the largest markets in the world to businesses based in our regions.

“During these discussions, I will be outlining existing government programmes and how they can benefit regional areas, as well as engaging local communities to see examples and hear ideas on how we can improve policy settings to make our regions even stronger.

“It is an exciting time to be a regional Australian where we are poised to take advantage of the opportunities of the future.”

Mr Truss said regional Australia's creativity and agility will help capitalise on the ideas boom.

“I know that the spirit of regional Australia and the innovation we are capable of will contribute to vibrant and positive futures for our local communities,” he said.

“By continuing to engage and work in partnership with regional communities, the Australian Government will help build strong regional communities and businesses as national and global economies rapidly evolve—balancing both the opportunities and challenges of change.”

Mr McCormack will begin his series of meetings in the coming weeks with the first visits planned for Tasmania and Western Australia.