Media Release 28 February 2012
The first national, independent think tank dedicated to regional issues was launched at Parliament House on 28 February 2012.
The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) was born out of the Federal Government’s 2010 commitments to Independent MPs from regional Australia. It is being established with $8m seed funding from the Federal Government.
Using existing information and commissioning new research, RAI will reframe the issues and opportunities for growth and development in regional Australia.
“Regional Australia is experiencing massive opportunity, particularly in mining, food and communications. To build a resilient economy for the future of all Australians we need an informed rethink of regional policy,” said Mal Peters, RAI Chairman.
Regional Australia is crucial to our economic and social future:
*Primary industries, resources and energy are the backbone of the Australian economy, representing 67 percent of the country’s export revenue: $65B.
*32% of Australians live in non-metropolitan areas.
*Population growth in some regional centres [e.g. Port Hedland (WA), Townsville (QLD)] exceeds the growth experienced by major cities.
*Fly-in, fly-out, regional commuting and lifestyle choices are drawing more city people to find their future in regional Australia.
By virtue of geography and diversity, regional Australia needs a comprehensive policy strategy to empower each region to make the best of its advantages. RAI will play a key role in this by contributing independent thinking and fostering public and policy debate.
The Regional Australia Institute is independent, apolitical and not-for-profit. It is governed by a Board of eminent Australians with a passion for regional Australia. Ms Su McCluskey has been appointed as the RAI’s inaugural Chief Executive Officer.
Minister for Regional Australia, Development and Local Government, The Hon Simon Crean MP, and Mal Peters, Chairman RAI will launch the Regional Australia Institute at 11:30am today at Mural Hall, Parliament House, Canberra.
For more information please go to this website www.regionalaustralia.org.au