OECD Regional Outlook 2016

Productive Regions for Inclusive Societies

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Regions and cities are where the effects of policies to promote economic growth and social inclusion are felt in day-to-day life. The OECD Regional Outlook 2016 examines the widening productivity gap across regions within countries, and the implications of these trends for the well-being of people living in different places. It discusses how structural policies, public investment and multi-level governance reforms can help boost productivity and address inclusion. Drawing on a survey of OECD countries, the Outlook  highlights country practices in regional, urban, and rural development policy that guide public investment. The Special Focus Part II on rural areas looks at different types of rural area and their productivity performance trends, and suggests that countries move towards a “Rural Policy 3.0”. The Policy Forum on Regions and Cities: Implementing Global Agendas includes chapters by many leading global organisations on how regions and cities can be instrumental in achieving the targets of agreements such as the Paris Accord and the Sustainable Development Goals.  Individual country profiles provide an overview of regional, urban and rural development policies as well as performance in terms of productivity and well-being among different regions.

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Australia is a federal country composed of six states and two territories with a population of 24 million. Subnational governments are responsible for 46.4% of public expenditures, making it the 9th most decentralised country in the OECD with regards to public spending. It is the 3rd most urbanised country in the OECD. Currently two-thirds of the country’s population live in one of its six metropolitan areas. Urbanisation is increasing rapidly, with four of the metro areas belonging to the 60 fastest growing metros in the OECD. Residents of the metropolitan areas are the least exposed to air pollution among metropolitan areas in the OECD. Inter-regional disparities in terms of life expectancy are the 2nd widest in the OECD, standing at more than 6 years. The Australian Capital Territory performs best on this indicator and is among the top 10% of OECD regions, whereas the Northern Territory is in the bottom 25% of OECD regions.



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