Australian governments have always wanted thriving regional cities, but policy innovations with this goal in mind have a bad history. Planned well, regional cities have huge potential to generate national economic growth while improving livability and sustainable development.
Governments want strong economies, diverse job opportunities and growing populations in regional cities. The Commonwealth’s City Deals and Smart Cities Plan have recently renewed focus on these priorities.
The main policy problem for regional cities has been creating enough employment opportunities to attract residents from capital cities. Unexpectedly, the COVID-driven trend towards remote working may have delivered a solution.