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The Australian National University

Regional Centres


Regional centres are an important but often overlooked set
of areas with particular policy and population dynamics. In
this paper, we identify 43 regional centres which we have
defined as having a total population of between 10,000 and
250,000 with at least 1,000 Indigenous usual residents.
These areas paper contain substantially more Indigenous
Australians overall than remote Indigenous communities
(23 per cent of the total Australian Indigenous population in
2011). However, the Indigenous population in these areas
tend to make up a greater share of the population than in
Australia’s major cities. Despite this, policy interest is very
rarely devoted to individual regional centres or to regional
centres as a separate geographic grouping. Compared
to the rest of the Australian Indigenous population, as
well as the non-Indigenous population of the 43 selected
regional centres, those Indigenous Australians living there
were relatively young. Partly because of this relatively
young age distribution, the Indigenous population in the
selected regional centres was relatively mobile, both in the
short-term and over the long-term. One of the innovations
of this paper was the development of an index of mobility
which was analysed alongside an index of socioeconomic
outcomes. The intersection of these indices identified four
regional centres of particular policy concern. Specifically,
compared to the other regional centres Port Augusta,
Geraldton, Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Hervey Bay were
identified as having a relatively disadvantaged Indigenous
population, as well as a highly mobile population.

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