Australian Community Media has launched a dedicated website and magazine series exploring the growth potential of regional Australia.
Called Future Focus, the project has been launched in partnership with the University of New England and Dell Australia to drive discussion about employment, education and lifestyle opportunities in regional areas, where one-third of the Australian population – or about 8.8 million people – currently live.
The website – futurefocusproject.com.au – is now live and the magazine, a gloss square-tab publication, is being carried in all 14 of ACM’s daily newspapers, including The Canberra Times and Newcastle Herald, as well as agricultural weeklies The Land, Queensland Country Life and Stock and Land in Victoria.
Deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure, transport and regional fevelopment Michael McCormack, writing in the introduction to the first edition of the magazine, said work and lifestyle opportunities in the regional centres and smaller towns outside Australia’s sprawling metropolitan cities offered many advantages.
“Clean air. Plenty of space. Wonderful people. Why would you want to live and work anywhere else?,” McCormack said.
“You are 10 minutes from anywhere in town, which is so important when trying to strike the balance between work and life – it means more time for you and your family and less on congested roads.”
Through case studies, interviews, profiles, think pieces and analysis by academics, innovators, industry leaders, business groups and government agencies, the Future Focus project will tell the stories of regional Australia, and the people, plans and ideas that will shape its future.
Australian Community Media chief executive officer Allen Williams said ACM was a proud advocate for regional Australia as a source of innovation, inspiration and prosperity.
“This project strives to focus attention on the opportunities that abound beyond the big cities, the policies and strategies needed to maximise the potential of regional, rural and suburban Australia and how we make sure prosperity is delivered in a balanced and sustainable way,” Williams said.
“With the support of our launch partners Dell and the University of New England, we are proud to lead this important national conversation.”
The first edition of the magazine – under the theme Planning for Prosperity – features commentary by Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO James Pearson, the Regional Australia Institute’s Liz Ritchie and economic geography professor Phillip O’Neill.
You are invited to join the debate: go to futurefocusproject.com.au and sign up to the discussion platform.