The State of the Regions (SOR) is a report prepared by National Economics and published annually by the Australian Local Government Association. It is officially launched at the Regional Cooperation and Development Forum, held each June in Canberra.
The latest SOR divides Australia into 67 regions, an increase of two over the 2008 number.
Every local government authority is allocated within a regional types or zone. The regional typologies consist of: Knowledge-intensive regions, Dispersed Metro, Independent City, Lifestyle regions, Resource Based and Rural Regions. The report provides a detailed analysis how these regions are performing and then analyses the likely consequences of current issues, be they demographic, climate change, or telecommunications in nature on the different types of SOR zones.
The core objectives of the SOR are to:
- Present the latest statistical indicators of how Australian regions are performing
- Analyse the indicator trends in terms of growing equality and inequality between Australian regions
- Make suggestions for the policy implications of current Australian regional performance
- Steadily expand the indicators used to measure regional performance
- Describe the reality of regional economics
- Assist local government to understand their regions and to provide useful planning tools
The State of the Regions report provides an annual stock-take of the economic well being of Australia's regions and their prospects for economic development and employment growth.
This year's report examines Local government’s role in tourism development. Local government helps to administer many tourist attractions and assists in the presentation of tourism-related events. It also provides much of the basic infrastructure which supports the industry, especially transport infrastructure. This year’s report seeks to better understand the importance and complexity of the visitor economy from a regional perspective - not only the opportunities for income generation, but also the associated problems of seasonal and low-wage employment.
The report includes an investigation of the Commonwealth role in local government finance. It also covers regional aspects of education finance and regional differences in the pathways from early childhood to satisfying employment.
Regular features included in the report are updates on the structure of regional incomes, skills and employment, housing and wealth, telecommunications, energy and climate change. The report provides extensive data for 67 regions covering all Australia and also includes a chapter on recent economic trends in the major metropolitan areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
This years report's major theme exposes the inequality that exists within and across Australia's regions. It reinforces what the OECD has argued in its report: In It Together: Why Less Inequality Benefits All ( 2015), that there is need for a new policy approaches and investment that seek to decrease inequality and that the adoption of such actions are good for the national economy.
Countering regional inequality needs to go beyond the traditional emphasis on direct tax / transfer redistribution, and focus more on geographically appropriate and targeted investments, including infrastructure provision , training and job creation activities.
The report provides an analysis of the structure of regional incomes and inequality, skills and employment ( including youth unemployment), housing and wealth, state of the roads assets, and updates on telecommunications, the post mining boom, labour productivity and northern Australia.
This year's Report examines the challenges facing Australia's regions in strengthening their competiveness in the global economy. Infrastructure investment remains one of the key drivers in economic growth and this year's report continues to investigate the full range of infrastructure needs that are necessary in delivering sustainable regional development across the country.
The report discusses the structural adjustment challenges facing Australia post the highs of the mining boom and the subsequent stresses placed on the domestic manufacturing and export sectors. The report also investigates the trends in aggregate job growth from a regional industry structure perspective and provides a detailed account of the employment situation for Australia's young people.
In continuing with the infrastructure theme, the report discusses some of the challenges of developing northern Australia and provides an interesting overview of the role that income tax concessions may play for regional Australia. These issues are timely given the Government's current investigations into the future opportunities for developing Northern Australia.
Given the widening gap between the prosperity of Australia's regions and major metropolitan cities, the report reinforces the need for Australia to encourage innovation and support the growth of the knowledge economy. The message is clear - we need more sophisticated frameworks for measuring infrastructure projects, we need to invest in public infrastructure and learn from our trading partners like New Zealand, on what exporting paths we must consider, now that the economic tide is receding.
The 2013-14 State of the Regions Report presents further policy findings that builds on the work commenced by National Economics in last year's 2012 -13 Rethinking Regional Development.
This year's Report provides further evidence on why a new national approach to regional development is required and what alternative policy approaches should be considered.
The Report incorporates the latest census analysis examining population and migration, as well as distribution of employment, income and wealth. The value of increasing infrastructure investment and productivity across industries is discussed.
A chapter is devoted to examining the consequences for the Australian economy and its regions post mining boom and the implications from a social and economic perspective of natural disasters and the role played by local governments.
This year’s Report is timely given that it examines the future of regional development in light of the ongoing impacts of the patchwork economy, ever tightening fiscal budgets at both the national and jurisdictional levels, the darkening economic clouds in the United States of America and Europe.
Consequently, the Report raises several questions designed to encourage policy makers to contemplate what changes may need to be made to Australia’s regional development policies to strengthen regional investment in the future. It continues the call for more action to be delivered in the areas of critical infrastructure provision and provides an interesting commentary on the history of financing infrastructure in Australia..
This year's report also includes discussions on trends in real unemployment, population growth, productivity and general construction activity.
The report introduces a new benchmarking methodology for Australian regions and provides commentary on what may be required in developing a more rational approach to regional development in this country.
As with previous years, the Report will provide detailed projections for 67 regions.
The 2011-12 State of the Regions report critically examines the regional effects of the mining boom which took off in 2005. The report produces a balanced analysis of both the benefits and costs associated with the mining boom and the effect the mining boom is having on other industries, as well as the potential regional implications when the boom finishes. Lessons from Norway are included as a best practice international case study.
This year's report includes discussions on trends in population growth and productivity. Additional commentary is made on the state of dwelling construction and household indebtedness, and what this may mean for housing affordability.
The report also provides additional commentary on climate change and its implications and impacts on Australia's economic prospects, and concludes with its fourth review of the state of Australia's telecommunications - broadband infrastructure.
The regions have been revised to better reflect the Regional Development Australia regions, which has subsequently seen the number of SoR regions increasing to 67 from last year's 65.
State of the Regions Report 2010-11:
The housing shortage and housing affordability
The 2010-11 SOR analyses the issues surrounding housing supply and how these issues have impacted both on the SOR zones and the 65 SOR regions themselves. Supply issues lead to pricing pressures and these impacts are described in their zone and regional context. Construction activity across the zone types and regions is presented.
The 2010-11 SOR also examines the fortunes of households in terms of wealth and employment across both the SOR regions and zone types.
The strategic purpose of the SOR report is to provide local government with a system of measuring performance and a framework for future regional economic development strategies.
State of the Regions Report (2008-09) Supplementary Report
This report represents a supplement to the 2008-09 Report issued in December 2009.
The supplement complements the original report by noting developments in the issues surrounding climate change and updates the regional income and labour market indicators to 2008-09. There is also an update on the impacts of the GFC.
State of the Regions Report 2008-09:
Climate Change and the Global Financial Crisis
The 2008-09 State of the Regions report continues to focus on the challenges of climate change, especially given the financial economic crisis engulfing the globe. The Report adds to the accumulated knowledge of previous reports on climate change, including discussion of the impact of emissions trading on regional households. Several case studies are presented to highlight the range of council strategies that are being implemented to reduce the impact of climate change on local and regional communities.
The state of Australia's households is reviewed. Specific topics explored include household wealth and debt, the baby bounce, migration patterns and employment levels.
The report also provides an updated commentary of the state of Australia's telecommunications - broadband infrastructure.
An extensive appendix of regional indicators underpins the findings of the main report and forms a valuable economic analysis of the state of Australia's 65 designated regions.
State of the Regions Report 2007-08: Climate Change
The 2007-08 State of the Regions report focuses on climate change and its implications and impact on Australia’s diverse regions. The Report provides a useful overview of international, Commonwealth, state and territory greenhouse policies, as well as critically discussing some of the regional impacts of potential abatement measures and carbon taxes. The Victoria shire of Mount Alexander is presented as a specialist case study.
The issues of water supply, drought, health and legal impacts for local government are also discussed.
The report also provides commentary on the financial state of Australian households as it relates to debt servicing, and concludes with its third review of the state of Australia’s telecommunications - broadband infrastructure.
State of the Regions Report 2006-07: The Landboom
According to most publicised indicators, Australia's economic performance over the past decade has been exemplary. Incomes have increased, unemployment has decreased, and the inflation rate has remained low. In addition, nearly all home-owners have received gratifying capital gains. For many, this additional wealth has provided psychological compensation for increased working hours and reduced employment security.
In this 2006-07 State of the Regions report we look more closely at the land boom of 1996-2005, and see some of the downside of it. However delighted the recipients have been with their capital gains, such windfalls do not come without cost.
State of the Regions Report 2005-06: Telecommunications
The 2005-06 State of the Regions report theme is at the very core of the issues that may well shape the economic development opportunities and competitiveness of Australia's regions. The Report explores the case for the use of telecommunications infrastructure, to assist regions improve their performance.
State of the Regions Report 2004-05: Infrastructure
The objectives of the 2004-05 State of the Regions report (SOR) are to explore the case for the use of infrastructure development to assist regions to improve their performance and to update and extend the SOR regional performance indicators.
State of the Regions Report 2003-04: Ageing, Migration and Population Change
The focus of the 2003-04 State of the Regions report is on how ageing, migration and population growth impact on the economic potential of regions and the revenue raising capacity of local government. The fundamental message from this year's report is that for many regions strong positive population growth with a broad based age composition will be vital for economic growth.
State of the Regions Report 2002-03: Regional Economic Governance
The theme of the 2002-03 State of the Regions report is regional economic governance and along with the traditional update of the regional performance indicators, the Report focuses on governance and the linked issue of growing inequality between regions. This growing inequality is the result of the process commonly referred to as 'globalisation', but in reality represents the outcomes of the shift in economic structure towards the so-called 'knowledge based' or 'innovation' driven economy.
State of the Regions Report 2001-02: Learning Regions
The theme of the 2001-02 State of the Regions report is jobs and learning regions. The prime concern is how well Australian regions are positioned to capture the economic development and employment benefits from the emergence of the knowledge-based or learning economy.
State of the Regions Report 2000-01
The approach taken in State of the Regions (SOR) reports is to adopt an inclusive approach to Australia’s regions. All Australia is broken into geographical units. The advantage of this approach is that we are able to examine what is happening in all parts of Australia and compare the performance of different types of region.
State of the Regions Report 1999-00
This is the second State of the Regions report. The report is prepared by National Economics for the Australian Local Government Association. The report is part of an ongoing partnership between the two organisations to collaborate on projects designed to improve our understanding about local economies and their performance and prospects.
State of the Regions Report 1998-99
This is the second edition of the State of the Regions report. The report is the outcome of a partnership between the Australian Local Government Association and National Economics (NIEIR). The preliminary report was prepared for delegates at the Regional Cooperation and Development Forum - Sustaining Futures for Our Regions, held in Canberra on 8 November 1998. This conference was held in conjunction with the ALGA National General Assembly.