Preparing for growth in Australia’s cities and regions

Media Release

Investment in urban and regional infrastructure will be better informed with the release of the Progress in Australian Regions—State of Regional Australia 2015 and State of Australian Cities 2014-15 publications today.

The publications provide an understanding of the nation’s overall economic and social wellbeing.

The economic output of our major cities has grown and their national importance remains extremely high, although mining activity in regional Australia has seen the overall percentage contribution by major cities to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dip slightly. [Page 1, State of the Cities 2014-15].

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the release of both reports provides a deeper, more complete picture of the population, employment, economic and transport trends that are occurring across Australia.

“Building the infrastructure Australia needs for the future is best informed by a thorough understanding of the challenges ahead, and these publications will provide vital information for infrastructure planners and communities,” Mr Truss said.

“The Australian Government released both the State of Australian Cities and State of Regional Australia reports concurrently to provide a nationwide view of Australia’s progress.”

Mr Truss said the release of the publications recognised the interrelated nature of cities and their surrounding regions.

“State of Australian Cities 2014-15 is an important tool for all levels of government in understanding where our cities are performing well and where there are opportunities for improvement,” he said.

“While there is no doubt our cities are vitally important for the nation’s prosperity they cannot be considered in isolation from their surrounding regions.

“The Progress in Australia’s Regions—State of Regional Australia 2015 report illustrates the different ways that regions change and takes into account aspects like population growth, economic wellbeing and social progress.

“This report shows that infrastructure continues to support the economies of regional Australian by promoting the efficient flow of people and resources while also providing regional Australians with access to essential services such as education and health.

“In December 2014, my Department released the Progress in Australian Regions—Yearbook 2014 to provide a statistical resource that can help answer the question of how regions are progressing against economic, social, environmental and governance indicators.

“This publication will enable governments, private investors and the community to identify trends that are important for policy development and investment decisions.

“The Government will continue to provide detailed analysis of the challenges facing the nation—inclusive of regional Australia.”

Mr Truss said the Australian Government had been investing widely in urban and regional infrastructure since being elected.

“Our commitment to delivering national prosperity begins with delivering the infrastructure Australia needs, and we have embarked on a nationwide programme of investment to achieve this end,” he said.

“Commitments such as the $8.5 billion upgrade of the Bruce Highway and the $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing—the largest commitment to a single regional road project in Queensland’s history—will support the continued movement of goods to domestic and international markets.

“Likewise, the Perth Freight Link will create a new world class freight connection between the Roe Highway and the Fremantle Port, and we are expecting a business case and delivery plan for the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project soon.

“The announcement of Badgerys Creek as the preferred site for Western Sydney’s airport is a significant commitment, and we are investing $2.9 billion towards key road upgrades to support the region through the $3.6 billion Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan.

“The $5 billion Asset Recycling Initiative is helping states build major urban public transport projects, such as the Second Harbour Rail Crossing in Sydney.

“When projects like these are combined with our other initiatives such as the Black Spot, Bridges Renewal and Roads to Recovery programmes—with Roads to Recovery receiving over $1.1 billion in extra funding in the past fortnight—Australia’s infrastructure future looks very promising indeed.”

The publications can be found online at: and

Australian Regional Development Conference (ARDC)
26 – 28 August 2015 | Albury, New South Wales

Conference sponsored by La Trobe University, The Regional Development Company, Vertel, EJ Australia, REMPLAN, .id the population experts and the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc.


Dr Judy Rudner from La Trobe University to present at the Australian Regional Development Conference

Dr Judy Rudner, Senior Lecturer at La Trobe University to present at the Australian Regional Development Conference being held at the Commercial Club Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015.

The Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.

Dr Julie Rudner

Dr Julie Rudner

Speaker Introduction: Dr Julie Rudner is a lecturer in the Community Planning and Development Program, La Trobe University, Bendigo. Through research, consulting and teaching, Julie explores the gap between policy and everyday life, with a particular focus on children’s, young people’s and migrants’ use, views and experience of their environments. She seeks to support active citizenship through community participation in planning.

Presentation Title: Rhetoric and reality: Policy and actions for an inclusive future
Co-Author: Noemi Cummings, Executive Officer, Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services

Overview: Population changes, influenced by Federal migration policy, educational and employment opportunities, and migrants’ desire to live in a safe community means regional areas are experiencing increasing cultural, ethnic and religious diversity. Diversity is further reflected in the communities themselves, with different migrants from the same ethnic or religious group often sharing a similar heritage to multi-generational Australians, naturalised citizens, and those with a refugee background or part of emerging communities. Moreover, migrants, in terms of the Australian workforce, come from highly skilled, student, and poorly skilled backgrounds.

While multicultural strategies and other policy support greater engagement of migrants into social, recreation and work communities, there is often a gap between the rhetoric and reality. Based on research conducted in two regional cities and the professional experience of a multicultural resource professional, this paper presents some of the real and perceived issues encountered by migrants with regard to finding housing, work, and feeling safe in public spaces, before focusing on the challenges and potential policy and program solutions for low skilled migrants to engage with their adopted communities. Significantly, the level of commitment to community infrastructures that will assist low skilled migrants to gain the social and cultural capital they need to succeed for themselves and their new communities will be a defining feature of regional Australia.

To view and/or download the Australian Regional Development Conference program please click here.