Australian Government continues to work for regional Australia
07 March 2019
The Australian Government continues to reinforce its absolute commitment to rural and regional Australia by appointing an expert panel to consider the key elements to support strategic growth and development in regional Australia.
Today, at a Business Council of Australia roundtable with key business leaders, Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation, Senator Bridget McKenzie, announced a panel of four distinguished Australian leaders passionate about growing regional Australia will be established.
“On 13 February, I tabled the Government's response to Regions at the Ready. In the response, I committed to establish an expert panel that will undertake a targeted assessment of the key issues raised in the Regions at the Ready Report and consider the growth of prosperous, safe and sustainable regions over the long term,” Minister McKenzie said.
“To this end, the expert panel will develop a regional framework that will consider the most appropriate mechanisms for local collaboration and partnerships, and opportunities to facilitate business investment, as well as reviewing Commonwealth investment and how this could better support strategic regional growth.
“The panel will be chaired by The Honourable Peter Ryan, the former Deputy Premier of Victoria. Peter was the Victorian Minister for Regional and Rural Development in both the Baillieu and Napthine governments.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Peter will do a sterling job given his outstanding leadership in community and public service.”
The expert panel members have been selected for their outstanding leadership and depth of experience in business, public service, research and as strong advocates for regional Australia. The Hon. Peter Ryan will be joined by Mr Jack Archer, former CEO of Regional Australia Institute, Councillor Anna Speedie, Mayor of Wodonga City Council and Councillor Andrew Cripps of Hinchinbrook Shire Council.
The expert panel has been asked to report back to Government by 31 March.
Mr Ryan welcomed the opportunity to contribute to a significant and important body of work to support strategic investment and growth in the regions.
“I'm looking forward to collaborating. We bring to the table significant experience regarding a topic with which we have all had extensive involvement. It is a formidable group well-suited to the task at hand,” Mr Ryan said.
“Today was a valuable opportunity for the expert panel to engage with business about the enabling features to drive business growth in the regions.”
Joining with Business Council of Australia CEO, Jennifer Westacott and business leaders for a roundtable event in Sydney, Minister McKenzie said the business sector is key to enabling regionalisation and facilitating greater investment and growth in regional Australia.
“Today's roundtable was a valuable discussion with key major business leaders which considered the challenges and opportunities which need to be examined to unlock and drive regional growth,” Minister McKenzie said.
“Business is a major employer and economic contributor across the country. Regional Australia has a key role to play contributing around 30 per cent of our GDP annually.”
Following the recent Strong Australia series and engagement with key business leaders and the local community, CEO Jennifer Westacott said there are clear opportunities to enable greater business jobs growth in the regions.
“By getting the settings right, we will see more private sector investment outside of capital cities and create strong, prosperous and sustainable regional communities for the future,” Ms Westacott said.
“The private sector already has a strong presence across Australia's regions. The Strong Australia series has shown us that with investment in skills and key connecting infrastructure, alongside competitive regulatory settings businesses can grow and invest even more in our regions.”