Beginning in 1996, NIEIR’s State of the Regions reports have documented the economic progress of Australia’s regions, both urban and country. Issued annually, each report has covered the current year and the immediate past. The reports chronicle a period of relatively stable growth, at national level, in the major economic indicators including Gross Domestic Product and National Income. Growth in these indicators was driven by growth at the regional level, with stability at the national level achieved by balancing out the fate of the various regions, some of which prospered and some of which fell behind.
This quarter century of sustained growth ended with the advent of COVID-19 in 2020. Whether or not it can be resumed post COVID-19, it is opportune to assess regional economic performance over this period of sustained growth, as covered in the State of the Regions reports. Rather than provide a summary of the annual reports, this overview report goes back to the original statistics and assesses the period as a whole. For statistical purposes, the period begins with the recovery from the 1990 recession (most of the comparisons begin with the 1993-94 financial year) and ends with the 2018-19 financial year.
This report divides Australia into 67 regions, each with precise geographically boundaries. Each region is considered from two points of view: as a region in which production takes place and as a region in which income is received. The first point of view concentrates on the location of economic activity – activity organised by employers (including the self employed) and generating paid work. The second point of view highlights where people live, mainly in household dwellings but also in various kinds of more-or-less permanent institutional accommodation.
The first point of view concentrates on the value of production in each region (on a production or workplace basis) while the second centres on incomes received (on a residential or household basis). The basic statistical framework is provided by the National Accounts, which the ABS prepares at national and state/territory level. The State of the Regions reports extend this framework to the regional level on both a production basis and a residential basis.