Regions win policy voice
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.
Regional Capitals Australia has gained a seat on a national cities forum.