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. Hence, we are able to focus on the broad economic, social and technological forces impacting all types of region as well as make inter-regional comparisons. To understand regional economic performance and prospects, it is not sufficient to focus on ruralbased regions. This leads to simple conclusions about cities versus the bush. Some rural regions are booming whilst others are experiencing long term decline. Some urban regions are stuck with high unemployment, low incomes and socio-economic problems, whilst the global centres have virtually returned to full employment.
All regions confront common challenges and these are addressed in SOR reports. Councils, regional agencies, regional businesses and communities are asking themselves the following questions.
- Are we well positioned in the global economy?
- What are the prospects for young people?
- How can we set our region onto a sustainable development path?
- How quickly can we transform ourselves into a knowledge-based economy?
- Can we strengthen local supply chains between producers and/or firms?
- Are our digital skills and infrastructure adequate to handle the vast increases in demand associated with the Internet and the widespread introduction of e-commerce?
- How can we increase capital investment in the regions?
- How will we maintain a sense of community and environmental harmony in a world of constant change?
- Are our business networks and community-based networks working well and creating opportunities for innovation?