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Strategic Foresight for Regional Australia

Recently the CSIRO released the Strategic Foresight for Regional Australia publication with the results of a study that was undertaken in conjunction with the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities. Through consultation with a wide range of regional development stakeholders from academia, the community, industry and across all levels of government, the document considers multiple potential scenarios, detailing what it could be like to live, work and invest in regional Australia in 30 years.

The report identifies five megatrends that have driven change in the past and are expected to continue in the future, being:

  • Defeating Distance
  • Global Exposure
  • Diverging Places
  • New Economies
  • Environment as Risk

Utilising the two key drivers of these five megatrends, technological progress and connectivity, and economic diversity and human capital, they developed four scenarios for the future of regional Australia:

  • Global Niche
  • Fast and Flexible
  • Natural Advantage
  • Holding Ground

While the publication highlights that one suite of policy settings or interventions is unlikely to fit all regions, it proposes a set of eight key messages for decision-makers that can be applied broadly. These messages focus on enabling or securing future benefits and opportunities for regions, given the influence of the megatrends and future realities in the four scenarios. The key messages intended to encourage further deliberation among the stakeholders involved in the future of our regions were:

  • Tailoring policies to regional differences
  • Enhancing planning and foresight capability for regions
  • Investing in human capital and adaptive capacity of business and communities
  • Investing in connectivity and infrastructure
  • Institutional reform for development
  • Managing risk
  • Supporting collaboration within and beyond regions
  • Investing in inclusion and liveability outcomes

The full report is available publicly in the CSIRO’s Research Publications Repository

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