In the pursuit of suburban and regional renewal, have we fallen into the trap of thinking this is a responsibility for local governments? Have we become too reliant on local government powers to provide incentives to attract and stimulate development – things like density bonuses, rates relief, infrastructure charges relief – without lifting our thinking to wider opportunities to support targeted geographic areas? Are we relying on too few of the levers actually at our disposal?
We need to begin to think more broadly about ways to support a more geographically diversified economy. Continued concentration of our economic fortunes into a handful of cities is a strategy fraught with risk, as we are watching play out now in Melbourne thanks to Covid-19. Geographic diversification is no longer an economic or planning pipe dream – it’s a matter of national economic security.