Regional summit hears of issues

Impediments for growth in Cobar were discussed at the Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana’s Inland Growth Summit in Dubbo last Thursday.

Cobar Shire Council’s general manager, Peter Vlatko was one of 10 guest speakers from different levels of government and industry groups invited to speak at the summit.

Mr Vlatko told attendees Cobar faced challenges in a number of areas including: mining, health, education, social impacts (such as isolation), housing, government regulations and support, access to water, inadequate electricity infrastructure, transport networks and telecommunications networks.

RDA Orana Chair John Walkom said the inaugural Inland Growth Summit was a great success that attracted attendees from across the eastern seaboard, including all levels of government and the private sector.

“Our aim was to spotlight the real need for regional policy and plan and to support growth centres within inland Australia, the desperate need for population growth to service projects and support sustainable and ongoing economic growth, and I think we achieved that,” Mr Walkom said.

He said Mr Vlatko and the other guest speakers, Mark Coulton (Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment); Dr Tom Measham (CSIRO); Liz Ritchie (Regional Australia Institute); Fiona Nash (Charles Sturt University); Roger Fletcher (Fletcher International Exports); Jillian Kilby (The Industry Collaborative); Michael Comninos (Astrolabe Group); Susan Benedyka (RDA Hume Chair); and Aleem Ali (Welcoming Cities) provided an in-depth look into impediments to growth for regional Australia, strategic planning for the future and outlook and growth targets.

“Common themes that came out of the day included changing the perception of what regional Australia has to offer, liveability, the importance of migration for inland areas, guide on policy, connectivity, leadership, partnerships and champions in our communities, finance availability and what cooperation can do,” Mr Walkom said.