Call for more Regional Deals

The Australian Infrastructure 2019 Audit released last month has revealed that cities like Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, are at risk of being left behind as the infrastructure gap widens between regional cities and capital cities.

Mayor of Wagga Wagga City Council, Greg Conkey, said the report confirmed what Council had long been advocating – that urgent planning for the future of Wagga Wagga is now required to ensure Infrastructure Australia’s (IA) predictions do not occur.

The Australian Infrastructure Audit report found:
1. Regional cities are great places to live because of their culture, unique histories and identities; however

2. There are ongoing risks to these cities because jobs in regional cities are generally based on the success of a small number of sectors; and

3. The continuing changes in technology and how services are delivered means regional cities will be decline if investment does not keep pace – particularly when it comes to connecting regional cities to other parts of Australia and the world.

“Getting infrastructure investment right in Wagga Wagga is very important, because like many regional cities, Wagga Wagga is a service hub that provides access to employment opportunities as well as the all-important health, education, sporting, art and cultural facilities,” the Mayor said.

“In fact this issue has even broader implications, because IA’s predictions relate to all regional cities.

“Regional Capitals Australia, a national organisation of which I am a Board member has found that every day eight million Australians rely on a regional city for their everyday needs.

“The Federal Government needs to plan for the needs of regional capital cities by providing more Regional Deals.

“Regional Deals bring together the local, state and federal governments to develop regional capital cities and identify new ways to support the growth of the regional economy.

“IA has been clear, the Federal Government should back the growth of our regional capital cities - there have been City Deals announced for all the big metro cities, so the time is now right to make sure our regional cities get their fair share.

“Wagga Wagga will be working with Regional Capitals Australia to advocate to Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Michael McCormack, and Assistant Minister, the Hon Nola Marino, to get a deal for our city and make sure our future is on track,” Mayor Conkey concluded.