|4 April 2017
The LGA has called on the Government to develop a population strategy to ensure the future sustainability of South Australia’s regional communities.
To be developed and funded by the State Government in consultation with councils and other stakeholders, this strategy would address:
- Population growth and decline in and between regions (including the metropolitan region);
- Impacts of an ageing population on revenues and service delivery;
- Labour force and skills;
- Migration policy;
- Maintaining and enhancing liveability for communities;
- Demands on infrastructure provision, particularly transport, community facilities, essential services and broadband; and
- Impacts on climate change.
LGA President Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg said lack of population growth was holding South Australia back, with regions being hit the hardest.
“50 of our 68 member councils are regional, and they are telling us that their communities need more people to prosper, and in some cases remain viable,” Mayor Rosenberg said.
“In our regions, a decision by a company to lay off just one staff member may mean a family leaves town – a family that was keeping the school viable with children, or keeping the local sporting club afloat.”
“Some of our towns and regions are crying out for specialised labor, and we need to do a better job in meeting their needs.”
“Research shows that between 1.3 to 1.6 new jobs would be created for every migrant worker moving to regional areas to work in industries facing significant long-term vacancies, such as agriculture, farming, food manufacturing and food processing.”
“Vacancies in these sectors continue to constrain economic growth and development in regional SA, making the development of a population growth strategy vital to the sustainability of the State.”
The LGA has called for this population strategy through its 2017/18 State Budget submission, which includes recommendations on more than 20 key policy topics relevant to local government and South Australian communities.