Re­gions win pol­icy voice

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long has ex­pressed hopes for bet­ter lob­by­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal projects af­ter the re­gional cities rep­re­sen­ta­tive body it is part of earned a place at a na­tional ur­ban work­ing group for the first time.

Re­gional Cap­i­tals Aus­tralia, which in­cludes the City of Kar­ratha and the Town of Port Hed­land among its seven WA and 57 Aus­tralia-wide lo­cal government mem­bers, was this month ac­cepted as part of the new na­tional Cities Ref­er­ence Group.

It marks the first time re­gional cap­i­tals will be rep­re­sented at a na­tional cities fo­rum, which has been set up to ad­vise the Fed­eral Government on ur­ban pol­icy in re­la­tion to its Smart Cities Plan.

Mr Long said he be­lieved the ref­er­ence group would be a valu­able plat­form for re­gional cen­tre rep­re­sen­ta­tives to have their say.

“The City is al­ways work­ing hard to en­sure we are on the radar and part of the dis­cus­sion when Fed­eral and State pol­icy and fund­ing is be­ing con­sid­ered,” he said.

“(We are) a mem­ber of RCA and we are hope­ful that RCA’s in­volve­ment in the new na­tional fo­rum will bol­ster our ef­forts to nar­row the di­vide be­tween re­gional and metropoli­tan cap­i­tal cities and lead to more in­vest­ment and, con­se­quently, bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices for lo­cals.”

Re­gional Cities Aus­tralia chair­man Shane Van Styn said there was a need for greater at­ten­tion on re­gional ur­ban cen­tres na­tion­wide.

“Many of our mem­ber cities are grow­ing rapidly, mean­ing our re­gional cities need bet­ter plan­ning around core in­fra­struc­ture needs such as trans­port, dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy, ed­u­ca­tion, recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties and cul­ture,” he said.

“I be­lieve a seat on the Cities Ref­er­ence Group is a step in the right di­rec­tion to en­sure that pol­icy cre­ated to in­form the Government’s Smart Cities Plan is in­no­va­tive and ad­dresses the needs of our re­gional cities and our re­gions, not only now, but well into the fu­ture.”

The ref­er­ence group will also in­clude lead­ing mem­bers of the Aus­tralian in­dus­try, com­mu­nity and non-government sec­tor.

The Smart Cities Plan aims to de­velop the pro­duc­tiv­ity and live­abil­ity of re­gional and metropoli­tan cities across Aus­tralia.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Re­gional Cap­i­tals Aus­tralia has gained a seat on a na­tional cities fo­rum.

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