Local, Independant and Effective

Hansard Transcript - 90 second statement - Regional Capitals Australia

Posted June 18, 2014

 

CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (13:50):  It gives me great pleasure today to acknowledge the work of Regional Capitals Australia, and particularly the work of the Wodonga City Council in the formation of this wonderful national organisation. I am a proud champion.

There are 50 regional capitals of Australia—cities like Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga, Mackay, Geraldton, Launceston, Mt Gambier and Palmerston—with a total population of four million people and growing. In 2026—that is only 12 years from now—that population is estimated to be five million people. Regional capitals generate 15 per cent of GDP, at $219 billion.

They are the hubs that provide vital services to surrounding towns. I believe regional capitals hold the future for Australia's growth: they are tourist destinations, hubs supporting the agribusiness industry, and centres for energy resources, and our regional capitals have, on average, higher numbers already employed in the tertiary education sector than the rest of Australia.

In closing, I would like to publicly acknowledge the work of two of my constituents in bringing this idea to the national stage: former Wodonga mayor, Mark Byatt, and Wodonga City Council CEO, Patience Harrington. While the idea might have begun in WA, it was Mark and Patience who pioneered a national organisation.

It is early days for RCA, but I hope that when the future history of the 21st century of Australia is written, regional cities will be recognised for their central role.