Regions Rising National Summit

17-18 March 2021, in person and online

With more than nine million people calling regional Australia home, it’s crucial that city and country-dwellers alike treat the nation’s regions with the seriousness they deserve.

The 2021 Regional Australia Institute (RAI) National Summit connects stakeholders at all levels of government, business and the community ‘to ensure a collaborative and future-focused discussion’ that can inform Australia’s leaders and shape the national conversation as we continue, post-COVID-19, to transition toward greater regionalisation.

Regionalisation is ‘more than an agenda on decentralisation; it’s an ambition to grow’, contend the Summit organisers. This year’s event is designed to explore ideas and issues around fostering sustainable growth for regional businesses and communities, with planned development that enables them not just to survive, but to thrive.

Day 1: Conference and Gala Dinner

Wednesday’s Summit Conference will bring together thought leaders from government, business and community, presenting sessions on will present on topical issues impacting our regions: population and mobility trends; jobs and skills; regional policy; infrastructure, education; health; the economy; local leadership and innovation. Day 1’s keynote address will come from John O’Duinn, author of Distributed Teams and ‘a change-maker for decentralisation in the US’.

Also on Day 1, Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Michael McCormack will launch a landmark national awareness campaign ‘to promote the opportunities to live, work and invest in regional Australia’.

The RAI’s 10-year anniversary Gala Dinner that evening is a formal networking opportunity hosted by Buy From The Bush founder Grace Brennan, who’ll also be the keynote speaker. The ticket price includes a two-course meal and entertainment.

Day 2: Masterclass

Thursday’s Summit Masterclass is structured as an interactive program, with the focus on regional ‘liveability’. Attendees will be given time and space to share success stories, voice challenges and discuss ideas about how ‘to make regions shine’.

Interested attendees can join the RAI’s ‘Policy Hack’, with a format that allows opportunities to discuss critical policy questions and ‘move quickly from issues to responses’, collectively developing ideas for policy and program reform. Post-Summit, the ideas thus generated will be prepared and formally submitted to governments in all jurisdictions by the RAI.

Masterclass participants will also get first look at the RAI’s new Liveability Toolkit, ‘a practical guide for regional leaders seeking to attract and retain populations to their towns and regional cities’. The toolkit will be formally launched by the federal Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, the Hon, Mark Coulton.

View the full Summit Program here.

Those attending ‘virtually’ can join the livestreamed Conference and/or Masterclass to watch keynote speakers and panels, and/or reprise the proceedings any time before the end of March 2021.


A long line-up of keynote and conference speakers includes the Deputy PM; RAI CEO Liz Ritchie; ABC Chair Ita Buttrose, AC OBE; economist Saul Eslake; Buy From the Bush founder Grace Brennan; Group Managing Director of Coca-Cola Amatil, Alison Watkins;

For full details of the Summit’s speakers, click here.

Times and location

All Summit events will take place onsite at Hotel Realm, 18 National Circuit, Canberra ACT 2600. Times are as follows:

  • Conference: 7am-5.30pm, Wednesday 17 March 2021,
  • Gala Dinner: 7pm-10pm, Wednesday 17 March 2021
  • Masterclass: 8am-4.45pm, Thursday 18 March 2021

Ticket pricing

Single tickets cost $750 for the Conference; $600 for the Masterclass; and $200 for the Gala Dinner.

Packaged tickets for the Conference + Masterclass are $1,100; and for the Conference + Gala Dinner, are $850. For the full package, including the Gala Dinner, it’s $1,200

Livestream tickets for the Conference + Masterclass are $200.

For ‘corporate tables’ of 10, it’s $6,500 for the Conference; $10,000 for the Conference + Masterclass; and $1,800 for the Gala Dinner.

All prices include GST.

Not-for-profit organisations are eligible for a discounted rate; to request a discount code, email


Discounted rates (15% off) are available to Regions Rising Summit delegates quoting the discount code at various Canberra accommodations, including DOMA Hotels’ Hotel Realm, Little National Hotel, Burbury Hotel, and Brassey Hotel (code: EVENT); and the Ramada Diplomat Hotel (code: RAI) when booking online.

See the hotel locations on a Google map.

Call for EOIs from regional suppliers

The organisers are keen to support rural and regional businesses and, to this end, they’re actively seeking regional suppliers to include their goods and services in this year’s National Summit.

Read the supplier briefs here, then, if interested, submit an expression of interest.

RAI’s Webinar series

View the RAI’s series of Regions Rising webinars here.

More information

For further event information about the Summit, visit the official event web page.

Register for the Summit

To register for the RAI National Summit, click here.