Nuances of Regional Growth and its Public Policy Implications: Some Comments on the Flaws in the Grattan Institute’s Investing in Regions; Making a Difference Report


: Lin Crase, Regional School of Business, La Trobe University, Wodonga, VIC 3689, Australia. Email:


Daley and Lancey (2011) of the Grattan Institute released the report titled Investing in the Regions: Making Difference in May 2011. The report sought to question the rationale for differential funding of regional infrastructure projects and concluded that “government spending cannot make economic water flow uphill” (Daley and Lancey, 2011, p. 3). The report was used to argue that fast growing regional areas were being deprived of important government funding and that this approach “has treated people unfairly” (Daley and Lancey, 2011, p. 3). The authors also scrutinised the argument that regional universities can impact on the economic development of regions and found that “the economies of university cities do not develop faster than regions without a university” and thus “it may well be that the additional spending on universities and regional campuses in smaller cities should be redirected to assist students from regional areas to study at larger campuses in our capital cities and largest satellite and coastal cities” (Daley and Lancey, 2011, p. 37). In this paper, we identify the limitations of this report. We also take the opportunity presented by the release of this report to consider other important policy areas requiring attention, especially in the field of higher education in regional settings.