Business Council’s plan to give 10 regional towns ‘priority status’

The Morrison government must select 10 regional towns to power the economy outside of Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s top business lobby has warned, calling for a list of cities with airports, universities and industry to be given special status to stimulate economic growth.

Geelong, Ballarat, Newcastle, Wollongong, Toowoomba and Busselton would be among the top contenders for priority status, which would see infrastructure delivered to funnel workers into the key areas at the expense of other towns and cities.

Jennifer Westacott says the decisions of which towns to prioritise cannot be “based on electoral politics”.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott will on Tuesday tell the National Press Club “Australia has become stuck in a pattern of projects, rather than places” and that a top-10 list needed to be drawn up immediately to “get the ball rolling”.

Ms Westacott will say the top 10 should be chosen on the basis of having nearby gateway infrastructure such as an airport or major transport routes, two successful industries, strategic importance, proximity to major power grids, a university and a TAFE, and available housing and health services.


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