Index shows how to transform regional Australia's future

UPDATE: IPSWICH and Brisbane city councils have topped a list of the most competitive regions in Queensland, in the first Regional Australia Institute competitiveness index.

The index was the result of some complex statistical work by the fledgling institute, analysing how every local council in the country performs on a range of measures.

It has found the south-east Queensland councils were the most competitive, followed by areas including Gladstone, the Sunshine Coast and Scenic Rim.

RAI chief executive Su McCluskey said the index, presented in an online interactive called InSight, was modelled on the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index.

She invited people across the community to go to the interactive to find out more about the region they live in, or plan to invest in or move to.

The data itself spans 10 different themes, such as human capital and economic fundamentals, using 59 statistical indicators, to reveal the "fundamentals of sustainable growth" across the country.

"Never before have we had this depth of information on regional economies at our fingertips," Ms McCluskey said.

She said the interactive maps meant it was now possible to measure and understand the strengths and weaknesses of Australia's individual regions.

Key themes for all the data included human capital, innovation and technological readiness, but the index also takes into account things like transport and freight, natural resources and the local environment.

Released on Tuesday, the index showed Burke in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Kowanyama in the far north and Redland and Cairns were rated among the second tier "highly competitive" councils.

Other key competitive regions in Queensland included Banana, Central Highlands, Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Gympie, which rated at the medium level across all indicators.

Ms McCluskey said regional Australia had missed out on opportunities for too long.

"[In]Sight provides the evidence we need to transform the future of regional Australia - for the good of all Australia," she said.


Top 28 Queensland regions:

  • Most competitive: Ipswich, Brisbane.
  • Highly competitive: Burke, Diamantina, Gladstone, Townsville, Scenic Rim, Redland, Sunshine Coast, Yarrabah, Cairns, Kowanyama, and Mapoon.
  • Competitive: Barcoo, Banana, Central Highlands, Isaac, Rockhampton, Whitsunday, Burdekin, Bundaberg, Gympie, South Burnett, Toowoomba, Somerset, Moreton Bay, Lockyer Valley, Logan.

SOURCE: Regional Australia Institute, Regional Competitiveness Index. Measured by local government area.


EARLIER: An interactive map comparing the competitiveness of regions will help Australia "tap regional potential" when it goes live from Tuesday.

[In]Sight has been developed by the Regional Australia Institute in collaboration with Deloitte Access Economics and ranks Australia's 560 local government areas and 55 Regional Development Australia regions across 10 themes.

RAI CEO Su McCluskey said the index would provide the evidence needed to transform the future of regional Australia.

>> You can check out the Regional Australia Institute interactive here

Ms McCluskey said the index showed that improving the level of health, education, access to new technologies and investment in research and development were the most pressing challenges to building economic performance in Australia.

Unlike conventional indices all of the data underpinning [In]Sight was freely available for access and use by regional communities, government, businesses, researchers and investors, she said, and had been specifically developed to bridge the gap between knowledge, debate and decision-making for the future of regional Australia.

"Never before have we had this depth of information on regional economies available at our fingertips," Ms McCluskey said.

"[In]Sight enables us not just to understand what the strengths and weaknesses of Australia's individual regions are, but how they stand up nationally."

>>Click here for audio from Mal Peters, the Chairman of Regional Australia Institute