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REVIEW OF REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AUSTRALIA COMMITTEE 2010-11 REGIONAL PLANS
The most commonly raised population issue – reported by 45 regions – was a current or predicted rapid growth in population. Forty-one RDA committees reported concern about the strain a rapidly increasing population would place on infrastructure and service provision, including housing, transport, health, education and water. The potential impact of urban expansion on the natural environment, amenity and the availability of agricultural land was also frequently raised.
Uneven distribution of population growth, both geographically and seasonally, was an issue raised by thirteen RDA committees. Some committees reported that expected growth in regional centres coupled with decline in smaller communities would lead to a withdrawal of services and further disadvantage in those small towns. Some committees also reported that seasonal variations in population, mainly due to fly-in, fly-out workers and a high number of tourists in summer, put further pressure on local facilities and services.
Forty-four RDA committees reported that their population was ageing. Various economic and welfare challenges were associated with an ageing population. The potential impacts included an increased demand for aged care services, health care, smaller housing types, transport and community infrastructure, as well as a shrinking labour force which may exacerbate labour shortages.
The retention of young people was an issue in many regions. Thirty-seven RDA committees reported experiencing an out-migration of youth aged 15 to 30 years who leave the region to pursue education, training and employment opportunities and because of a lack of recreational facilities.
The issue of population decline and sustainability in rural and remote areas was raised by nineteen RDA committees. These committees reported that better strategies were needed to attract and retain residents to prevent the withdrawal of services and to ensure that these areas remained viable and economically productive.
Other issues that the paper discusses are:
To read the full paper, please refer to Research Paper: A Review of Regional Development Australia Committee Regional Plans, 2013.
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