State of the Regions report reveals councils in detail

The Wide Bay region is missing out on mining boom benefits, according to a new report.
The Wide Bay region is missing out on mining boom benefits, according to a new report. Albert Fedchenko

THE Australian Local Government Association's State of the Regions report has revealed a widening gap between regions that have benefited from the mining boom and those that have not.

The annual report, released at the weekend, provides an in-depth study into the prospects of Australia's regions and their development.

The report identified the national economy was now in transition and had entered into the post mining boom construction phase, requiring growth in other areas of the economy to maintain Australian living standards.

The report's authors argue that the trend of regional disparity will continue unless there is a concerted injection of infrastructure investment to underpin increased national productivity and, by supporting business investment, generate export income

National Economics' Dr Ian Manning said as the mining boom continues to slow the "knowledge economy" was slowly re-emerging and will play an increasingly important role as the influence of the resource sector fades.

"Infrastructure investment will not only need to be about major projects like highways and airports, but investment in telecommunications and the built environment and associated activities that support the growth and development of the knowledge economy," he said.

"Investment in rural and regional development cannot be thought of in isolation.

"It needs all aspects to be considered in the equation, this means investment in a range of infrastructure, from roads, airports, to education and telecommunications."

Australian Local Government Association president Dr Felicity-ann Lewis (CORRECT) said all regions need to be smart about creating opportunities for their youth and pursue regionally appropriate educational, training and employment pathways.

"The report argues that the idea of relocating young people to regions where work is available needs to be re-thought as there are already many young people unemployed in these regions," she said.

"It is necessary for local government to be fully engaged in regional economic development, ensuring national and state policy initiatives are developed to work with communities and their local economies to adapt and change and build on strengths."

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