From housing and medical care to education, emergency services, sports fields and recreation centres, social infrastructure is critical to ensuring the development of sustainable communities. These services are essential for attracting and retaining families in regional towns that are seeking to capitalise on the benefits generated from resource activity.
Local and state governments know this. Companies are willing to contribute. Yet the race to extract and sell resources is being run at record speed, with new projects being approved and workers pouring into regional areas at unprecedented rates. Policy vacuums are frequent, as are debates over whether governments at different levels should intervene or stand back to let the market operate.
This short report considers policy and planning gaps that are evident in the primary resource states at three different levels:
- Lack of universally accepted, evidence-based information about what is actually happening in the regions undergoing significant change
- An agreed platform for undertaking the necessary modelling
- Complete oversight by a single state authority of a project's broader regional impact, from application through completion.