The Federal Government has been urged to reconsider its approach to regional development after the latest State of the Regions report showed the mining boom has had a negative impact on many States and regions.
The report, commissioned by the Australian Local Government Association and conducted by leading economists Peter Brain and Ian Manning from National Economics, includes economic analysis of every local Government area in Australia.
It identifies Western Australia and its regions as clear winners from the boom, along with some of the regions in Queensland and News South Wales, and highlights negative impacts in other states and regions.
The co-authors have called for the Federal Government to establish an independent Commission of Inquiry to assess how equality can be better achieved across local government areas.
“If the Inquiry concluded that non-mining regions have been adversely impacted due to ineffective planning for regional development, we would have a catalyst to start the process for a productive redesign of regional planning in Australia,” Dr Brain said.
“During the past 30 years, there has been insufficient investment in regional development in Australia and the findings of the Report reinforce the need for a system of dedicated funds to flow into local infrastructure projects.
Co-author Dr Ian Manning said the analysis highlights the strengths of each region and pinpoints under-utilised resources.
“Our analysis identifies the under-utilisation of local and regional resources for Australia’s 67 regions and the potential reasons for this under-utilisation, which can then be used by decision-makers to help set investment priorities at the local and regional levels to increase regional prosperity.