A new study into decentralisation, commissioned by the Page Research Centre, has
found a shortage of detailed research into decentralisation and the most
effective methods used to attract people to move from the capital cities into
Conducted by the Hugo Centre for Migration and Population Research at the University of
Adelaide, the study was led by Dr Romy Wasserman and Associate Professor Alan
It included an in-depth exploration of academic data bases for peer-reviewed
journal articles and books and found most policies concentrated on attracting
international immigrants rather than internal migrants to regional areas.
The study found that the lack of literature on policies to encourage the movement
of people internally reflects the lack of policies to back decentralisation.
Nationals Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie said the study is a key link to
understanding reasoning behind attracting people to move from cities to
“The National Party has been instrumental in decentralisation programmes including
the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (AVPMA) from
Canberra to Armidale, staff from the Murray Darling Basin Authority to Wodonga
and most recently, the establishment of a new $4 billion Commonwealth Agency in
Orange in the Central West of N.S.W., as part of the decentralisation push.
“This study highlights the need for informed data on decentralisation and an
investigation on what regional centres seek in this area.”
Senator McKenzie said that is why the government recently announced a 10-member inquiry
into decentralisation that will listen to the views of regional areas, keen on
attracting government offices and agencies to their region.
“The Minister for Regional Development, Senator Fiona Nash has asked all Cabinet
Ministers to identify agencies or sections of Departments which they consider suitable
“That information will then be considered by Cabinet with agencies and business units
deemed suitable for decentralisation included in next year’s Budget.
Page Research Centre Executive Director, Kristian Jenkins said the research
identified the four main policy levers to encourage settlement in regional
“These are the lightest touch approach – market positive aspects of regions more
effectively, visa-linked incentives to encourage immigrants to settle in
regional areas, capital investments into regional areas and financial
incentives for people to settle in regional areas, usually through tax
“This is the first stage in a proposed four stage process which will culminate in the
back bench policy committee identifying four to six regional capitals, along
with a suite of policy proposals meant to encourage population to settle
there.” Mr Jenkins said.
He said the Nationals will release the results as part of its decentralisation
policy agenda at the next federal election.