Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) is pleased to present this second submission for consideration by the Productivity Commission (the Commission) and welcomes the potential for the study’s outcome to inform the government’s approach to regional policy. RCA is a growing alliance of 31 local governments across the nation, representing Australia’s regional cities. Regional capitals are home to almost four million people and service the needs of another four million Australians who live in surrounding areas. Our mission is to provide a platform to champion the strategic importance and sustainable development of regional capital cities (RCCs) around the nation.
RCCs are not defined by size, but by the role the city plays in the wider region. RCCs act as service ‘hubs’ and perform a ‘capital city’ role within the region, providing a central point to access essential infrastructure, services, business, employment and education. The services and infrastructure are accessed by local residents as well as those in surrounding towns and rural areas. Every day, eight million Australians rely on RCCs for their everyday needs. Australia’s RCCs jointly generate $225 billion per annum, or more than 15 per cent of national economic activity. RCCs are growing. An extra one million people are expected to call a RCC home by 2020. The growth of our member cities is a 100-year trend. This trend is due to a pattern of consolidation from smaller towns to larger regional centres, growth in Australia’s international migration rates, and more recently, a haven for people looking for a liveable and affordable alternative to the congested major capitals3 .