State of the Regions Report 2014-15: Regional Development in a Globalised Economy

This year’s report examines the challenges facing Australia’s regions in strengthening their competitiveness in the global economy. Infrastructure investment remains one of the key drivers in economic growth and this year’s report continues to investigate the full range of infrastructure needs that are necessary in delivering  sustainable regional development across the country.

The report discusses the structural adjustment challenges facing Australia post the  highs of the mining boom and the subsequent stresses placed on the domestic manufacturing and export sectors. The report also investigates the trends in aggregate job growth from a regional  industry structure perspective  and provides a detailed account of the employment situation for Australia’s young people.

In continuing with the infrastructure theme, the report discusses some of the challenges of developing northern Australia  and provides an interesting overview of the role that income tax concessions may  play for regional Australia. These issues are timely given the Government’s current investigations into the future opportunities for developing Northern Australia.

Given  the widening gap between the prosperity of Australia’s regions and major metropolitan cities, the report reinforces the need for Australia to encourage innovation and  support the growth of the knowledge economy. The message is clear – we need more sophisticated frameworks for measuring infrastructure projects, we need to invest in public infrastructure and learn from our trading partners like New Zealand, on what  exporting paths we must consider, now that the economic tide is receding.

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