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When it comes to regional Australia, our governments tend to focus significant spending on hard infrastructure as a means of improving economic growth and creating jobs.

There’s no doubt that investing in infrastructure such as roads, rail and airports is certainly important. But it can’t just be the only ‘tool in the box’.

We need to switch gears. We need a rebalanced focus that is about people and what they can do, and this message was made loud and clear at the RAI’s Regions Rising National Summit in Canberra last month.

On 4 -5 April, more than 250 of regional Australia’s best and brightest joined the National Summit at Old Parliament House and participated in our first Policy Hack.

In the Policy Hacks, we asked participants to consider four key challenges facing regional Australia, relating to jobs, population, health and regional policy. But this wasn’t just a talk-fest, they had to share ideas, their experiences and knowledge – and come up with solutions.

Since then, the RAI’s team has been collating the responses and the result is this new policy document – Our Regions Rising: Policy Hack Outcomes 2019. This document represents a collective voice that highlights the needs and expectations of regional Australia!

While the topics were diverse, the message was strong and consistent. People want a new approach to regional development and this top-down, one-size-fits-all, big infrastructure only approach has to change.

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