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Research Reports

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Growing Regional NSW- Policies to Revitalise the Non-Metropolitan Regions of NSW

Australian governments have adopted a range of initiatives at different times to foster economic development in non-metropolitan regions of the nation. These have included land and water allocation policies, transport and infrastructure
development, regional service subsidisation, decentralisation policies and regional planning initiatives. Despite these policies, large areas of the nation have very low population densities, and the vast bulk of the population is crowded into five mainland capital cities and the metropolitan and coastal areas close to those cities.

The congestion and other stresses created by the rapid growth of metropolitan populations are now becoming a significant issue for state governments, and these problems are likely to be exacerbated in the future as the nation continues to experience relatively strong population growth.

At the same time, low population densities and declining populations in many non-metropolitan regions are creating challenges for governments in the provision of equitable services and facilities in regional areas, and also for non-metropolitan businesses which are having increasing difficulty in securing workers.

It seems logical that, if current Australian population growth rates are to be maintained, the solution to the challenges this will present for both metropolitan and non-metropolitan residents is to find ways to stimulate greater non-metropolitan population growth.
In the past, regional development policies often consisted of measures to entice manufacturers and processors to establish facilities in non-metropolitan areas to provide the employment that would attract new residents. These policies had limited
success, especially as manufacturing has declined in relative importance as a source of employment. However, the rise in prominence of the services economy and the development of modern transport and communication systems, have created new opportunities for economic growth and employment in non-metropolitan areas.

This report proposes a range of policy measures based on international best practice which, if adopted with serious long-term intent by a NSW Government, have the potential to reverse the population drift to metropolitan centres from inland NSW while at the same time enhancing the quality of life in major metropolitan centres.

Please note this Research Report is available in electronic version only.

Full Report
March 2011, 1-52 (52 pages)
Publisher: Australian Farm Institute
Authors: Davison, S, Ryan, T, Goucher, G & Keogh, M
ISBN 978-1-921808-07-4 (Web)



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