OPINION

Regional Australia Institute's Canberra home away from home for visitors

HUB: Water Resource Minister David Littleproud, deputy PM Michael McCormack and RAI co-CEOs Liz Ritchie and Dr Kim Houghton.

HUB: Water Resource Minister David Littleproud, deputy PM Michael McCormack and RAI co-CEOs Liz Ritchie and Dr Kim Houghton.

When you work in regional Australia, quite often, there are many places you need to be to conduct business.

At the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), we spend a lot of time away from our Canberra office, meeting with stakeholders across the country. We know many of you also spend time in the nation's capital meeting with politicians, their staff as well as other important organisations.

Therefore, we are excited to announce that we have made life a little easier for you when you travel to the ACT, following last week's official opening of the Regional Australia Hub.

The hub is our new venture designed to be a home away from home, where people can meet and work comfortably.

It's located just a stone's throw from Parliament House and has all the facilities you need.

Now the word is out, we have been overwhelmed with the positive comments from all corners of the country.

Even deputy prime minister Michael McCormack was suitably impressed when he officially unveiled the new space at the grand opening.

We can't wait to show off our new co-working and event space that we hope will foster an innovative and welcoming atmosphere for people visiting from regional Australia, no matter what field they are in.

We want people to feel free to just drop in and say hello.

You can hire a desk for a day, or even rent a space for longer periods of time. You may have an upcoming event, small meeting, or even a large meeting that you are looking to host - the Regional Australia Hub is up and running, ready to accommodate.

We can't wait to show off our new co-working and event space that we hope will foster an innovative and welcoming atmosphere for people visiting from regional Australia, no matter what field they are in.

As Australia's first and only independent think-tank focusing on issues affecting regional Australia, we look forward to sharing our knowledge with people and organisations who use the Regional Australia Hub - as it is housed alongside the RAI office.

Issues relating to jobs, regional population growth and migration are important to many people within the business sector of regional Australia and if you use our hub, we'd like to share with you our latest findings.

In Sydney last week, we held the final public event in our national roadshow Regions Rising 2019. These events are designed to elevate the issues affecting regional Australia. On the agenda were the current job vacancy figures released by the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.

The new figures show that NSW now has the most professional job vacanies in regional Australia.

Overall, there were more than 12,800 roles advertised in the month of October - and one in four are professional roles.

Across the nine areas in regional NSW, there were more than 3630 professional jobs on offer. These roles include medical practitioners, nurses, finance workers, human resource managers, engineers, educaiton professionals and sales and marketing manager.

Depsite the fact that many areas in NSW are enduring the worst drought in history, these new figures show there are still some fantastic job prospects.

In regional Victoria, the story is similar with more than 6500 roles advertised. In South Australia, the number was up 19.7 per cent since October 2017 - with 1066 vacancies.

At the RAI, we know that many communities are working locally to come up with solutions to fill these roles and we are encouraging professionals to look beyond the city skyline and consider a career in regional Australia.

Helping demonstrate the cultural depth on offer in regional Australia, I'm also pleased to say that the Regional Australia Hub is also supporting and promoting regional artists, with regional artwork exhibited in the space.

Moree's Yaama Ganu Gallery provided beautiful paintings for the hub's first exhibition, and we look forward to working with other regional artists in 2020.

For more information about the Regional Australia Hub, please go to www.regionalaustralia.org.au

Liz Ritchie is co-chief executive of the Regional Australia Institute.