In 2017 the Developing Northern Australia Conference will be held at the Pullman Cairns International Hotel over 19-20 June.

Mr Shane Van Styn, Chair at Regional Capitals Australia joins us in Cairns this June at the conference to discuss ‘The Importance of Regional Capital Cities to the Northern Australia Agenda’.

Australia’s Regional Capital Cities (RCCs) perform a functional role; they are not defined statistically but by the role they play in the wider region. This is the ‘hub and spoke’ model of regional development. RCCs provide a central point to access essential infrastructure, services, business, employment and education. These services and infrastructure are accessed by residents as well as those in surrounding towns and rural areas. Every day, eight million Australians rely on Australia’s 50 RCCs for their everyday needs.

Mayor Shane Van Styn, City of Greater Geraldton, WA.

RCCs also contribute $225 billion per year to Australia’s national economy, representing approximately 16 per cent of the country’s bottom line. Additionally, 15 per cent of Australian-based businesses are in RCCs with 300,000 active businesses.

Historically Australia’s urban agenda has been focused on the five major metropolitan capital cities. Yet all cities that work are enormous economic assets and play a vital role in building a strong economy.

As the major metropolitan cities continue to struggle with congestion and infrastructure backlogs, the opportunity to ease the squeeze on Australia’s metropolitan capitals, whilst also building the population base and economic capability of RCCs in Australia, including those in (or likely to go into) transition – must now be embraced. This is particularly true when the wider regional benefit of creating true service and economic regional hubs is captured.

Shane will argue that the success of any Northern Australia strategy will be reliant on an associated program to simultaneously grow the connectivity and liveability of RCCs located in Australia’s North. Shane will also highlight efforts of Regional Capitals Australia, as we work towards building a nation of strong, well-planned communities that are productive, sustainable and vibrant.

Mayor Shane Van Styn was sworn into office late 2015 and recently appointed Chair of Regional Capital Australia and deputy Chair of Western Australian Regional Capitals Alliance. He is a strong advocate for regional cities, their people and their future. Mayor Van Styn is involved with a range of local community groups, and as a local business owner and manager, Mayor Van Styn has developed a great understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing regional businesses and the individuals who live in them. Mayor Van Styn is a qualified CPA Accountant and has received multiple Chamber of Commerce Business Awards in recent years.

For more information on the 2017 Developing Northern Australia Conference and to secure your spot, please visit