REGIONAL AUSTRALIA is a vibrant font of innovation that is more important to tap into than ever before. That is the challenge issued by Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia, (SEGRA) founder Kate Charters in her most recent Speaking up for Regional Australia annual communique – the 20th.
Regional Australia has unique attributes in terms of innovation that put it at a distinct advantage in the 21st Century according to Ms Charters.
“Regional areas are places where trust, leadership, liveability, resilience and networking strength are powerful enablers,” she said.
Key issues facing regional Australia discussed in the communique include: The role of government to deliver against prudent public expectation; how to best facilitate innovation and encourage business growth, the right governance structures to enable communities to be in charge of their own futures and the mechanisms to unlock investment capital are all key issues in growing a sustainable communities in regional Australia.
“Regional Australia is enjoying its moment in the spotlight at present this is in part a reflection of the depth of Australian connection to its bush folklore and pioneering spirit,” Ms Charters said. “However, the place of regional Australia is more than just nostalgia and the bush iconography, sunburnt country and flooding plains.
“Regional Australia is innovative. It has an exceptionally well-developed capacity to respond to challenges, with great resourcefulness; and regularly the people living in regional Australia deal head on with uncertainty and changeability of the natural and business environment.
“In an age of rampant social individualism it is also true that our lives as individuals are only possible through increasingly complex relationships of collective effort and regional Australia is well versed in collective effort,” Ms Charters said.
“New place-based growth models to attract collaborative investment are essential to drive connected economic growth that delivers 21st century jobs, encourages start-ups and entrepreneurs, and multi-age community engagement all need to be considered.
“We need greater understanding of how things work in rural and remote areas. What works in a large city may only work in a large city; there needs to be much more research and evidence gathered to understand what supports and encourages innovation, entrepreneurship and business creation in rural and remote settings.
“Regional universities are well placed to examine the unique attributes of regional Australia’s economic opportunities for example what makes successful start-ups, entrepreneurs and businesses cases in regional Australia,” Ms Charters said.
SEGRA’s view is that regional Australia is not just a special part of Australia, it is a critical voice on the national agenda.
A full copy of the communique is available at http://2016.segra.com.au/perch/resources/segra-2016-speaking-up-for-regional-australia.pdf