Housing has been identified as the biggest infrastructure problem in the whole of regional Australia.
The lack of housing of all kinds, public and private, has only been made worse by overcrowding in areas by city dwellers during the pandemic.
This was one of several challenges in developing the areas identified in a major report by Infrastructure Australia. Regional strength and infrastructure gaps.
The report represents more than a year of work as researchers traveled across Australia to explore a region’s strengths and their infrastructure gaps.
Infrastructure Australia is an independent advisor to all levels of government and industry, with a brief overview of how to help with infrastructure investment and improvement.
The report provides evidence of increased investment in the sectors.
It identified a “top five” among the clear challenges in sectors – housing, water security, telecommunications, further education and training as well as public transport.
Housing was clearly the major problem in most areas.
“The availability, diversity and affordability of housing is needed to meet the growing and changing demands of regional Australian communities,” the report found.
“Local stakeholders in regional Australia highlight the lack of suitable housing as a major barrier to attracting and retaining skilled workers in regions, many of whom already face skill shortages.
“Poor housing availability, diversity and affordability in regions is hindering the potential for population and economic development.”
Population change brings pressure to provide similar infrastructure services to cities.
A net 43,000 Australians moved from capital cities to regional areas in 2020, compared to 18,900 a year earlier.
This was the highest net inflow among regions on record, with regional Queensland having the largest net inflow of all states, followed by the territorial regions of Victoria and New South Wales.
The report found that this trend continued last year as well.
“Stakeholders noted that these impacts have driven or exacerbated demand for improved telecommunications, housing, tourism and road infrastructure,” the report found.
These new residents and the growth of domestic tourism due to the pandemic have also put increased pressure on telecommunications infrastructure.
The need for reliable and high-speed telecom connectivity to access jobs and services was frequently raised in consultations, the report found.
“Broadband and mobile connectivity is an enduring concern in many communities and is increasingly important to the economic and social well-being of regional Australia, especially through the pandemic with an increasing reliance on digital connectivity for access to essential services and products. “
Water security was considered important to “meeting fundamental residential and commercial needs” and to the productivity of regional Australia’s traditional ‘engine’ industries, including agriculture, mining and manufacturing, as well as emerging industries.
Skill deficiencies were often identified in the areas.
“Access to further education and skills training, in line with a region’s existing job opportunities and industry development profile, is critical to enabling economic growth and attracting and developing local skills, particularly in critical service sectors. “
Public transport was almost non-existent in many areas.
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“The capacity, connectivity and quality of public transport infrastructure within and between our regions is essential to access services, jobs, education and economic opportunities.”
One issue that was further down the list of “problems” was aged care.
“Older Australians play an important role for regions of Australia as they can inject significant capital into the local economy,” the report found.
“However, older Australians struggle to age as access to specialized health care, geriatric care and accessible community infrastructure and areas has limited street views.
“As a result, many older Australians are forced to relocate closer to their children who are often in metropolitan areas or to a service center where they can get additional support.”
The identification was needed to provide greater diversity of aged care options in regional Australia, the report said.
The report has now been made public for comment.
“By identifying and spotlighting priority challenges and opportunities in each sector, Infrastructure Australia encourages governments, industry and the community to collaborate and identify, develop and submit proposals to address these gaps with all levels of government. expects.
“Solutions may be planned through further consideration of reform initiatives or proposals for physical infrastructure investment.”
People can comment on the report via Infrastructure Australia.
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The story Housing problems are holding the regions back first appeared on Farm Online.