Strong regions = a stronger Australia

Australia is often said to be one of the most urbanised countries in the world - and it’s true
that a large percentage of our population hugs the coastal strip, especially in the east.
But a solid one-third of our population - or about 8 million residents - calls regional Australia home.
More are joining them every year.

Despite common misconceptions, the population of regional Australia is rising.
Between 2007 and 2017, the population outside of Australia's major cities grew by 10.6%. The
Australian Bureau of Statistics projects the population outside capital cities will have grown by 26% to 2026.

Regional economies are rich in their diversity and contribute about two-thirds of Australia's export earnings - from industries including agriculture, the resource sector, tourism, retail, services and manufacturing.

Australia's regional communities also offer a distinct lifestyle that owes as much to the landscape as to the history of this ancient land that has become home to so many travellers.

Regional Australia is a source of innovation and resilience, a place where solutions will be found to key challenges around communication and connectivity, food and water security, the environment and the preservation of Indigenous cultures.

The Future Focus project

The Future Focus project is a celebration of the potential of regional Australia as a key driver towards a stronger nation for all Australians.

Through a series of quarterly magazines and this website, we aim to challenge regional leaders and change-makers to consider what decisions must be made, what policies and actions implemented, to ensure we build a prosperous and connected economy that is both inclusive and sustainable.

Future Focus will represent not only a collection of the latest thinking around regional development, but also stimulate discussion on the best ways forward. To focus discussion, we have grouped topics around four key pillars:

  • Planning for prosperity: population trends, the arguments for targeted migration to the regions, the jobs of the future and the industries and innovators who will drive economic development

  • Connecting our potential: what is required from infrastructure and technology, transport and communication links to ensure a firm base for regional growth in the coming decades

  • Delivering a sustainable future: how will we balance the environment and our wealth of natural resources with future food, water and energy requirements in a time when biodiversity and climate change are global challenges

  • Building stronger communities: what makes regional Australia such a great place to live, and how must health, education and other services evolve to ensure a happier, healthier and brighter future for the next generations