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Senate votes to initiate historic Inquiry into Regional Capitals in Australia

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 11 Feb 2015

The Greens Senator for Tasmania, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson today was successful in securing a Senate Inquiry into regional capitals in Australia.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “In this parliament we spend a lot of time developing policy for big cities and quite a bit of time on rural policies, especially relating to agriculture, but we spend no time at all on the special needs of the unique middle-sized cities dotted around our country.

“Regional capitals, like Launceston or Ballarat or Orange, are blessed with unique challenges and opportunities, and this Inquiry provides the Senate with an opportunity to investigate how we can craft policy specifically to cater for their needs.

“Regional capitals can be incredible places to live. The lifestyle is amazing. You can have wonderful recreational opportunities, avoid the problems of big cities like being stuck in traffic, and yet have access to services like Universities and high-quality hospitals. These are some of the reasons I chose to live in one. 

“The Inquiry will investigate what policies governments could pursue to help these cities thrive and relieve some of the pressure on the larger metropolises.

“For my home town of Launceston, the Inquiry will provide an opportunity for residents to put forward their ideas on how the Federal Government can better tailor its support, particularly in the areas of employment and sustainability,” he concluded.


Terms of Reference:

Senator Whish-Wilson: To move—That the following matter be referred to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee for inquiry and report by 1 December 2015:

The future role and contribution of regional capitals to Australia, including:
(a) an assessment of current demographic trends and the changing role of regional capitals;
(b) an analysis of current funding provided to regional capitals;
(c) an analysis of the benefit of additional funding regional capitals could receive based on population, demand for services and their strategic importance for the region, state or country;
(d) investment challenges and opportunities to maintain or grow regional capitals, including infrastructure, community and human services, communications and natural resources;
(e) incentives and policy measures that would support sustainable growth in regional capitals;
(f) the impact the changing environment will have on regional capitals; and
(g) any other related matters.

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