An Australian Government Initiative

Regional Development Australia

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE)

25 July 2017

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) provides economic analysis, research and statistics for the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

Originally established as the Bureau of Transport Economics in 1970, today BITRE employs about 30 staff, comprising economists, statisticians, modellers, social researchers and policy analysts, who provide research and policy advice to inform, influence and shape policy thinking and decision making.

In addition to its policy advisory role, BITRE undertakes original research and analysis. An example of its research work is the 2014 The Evolution of Australian Towns report, a long-term analysis of the development of Australia's towns.

The report, published by BITRE's Regions Research Section, covers the historical developments of towns over the last century, using Census data from 1911, 1961 and 2006 to map out Australia's evolving settlement pattern. Over the twentieth century, the strong long-term settlement pattern trends in Australia were increasing centralisation of population and activity, a decline in rural inland towns and growth in coastal locations. The Towns report explains how this occurred as a result of large economic, social and technological changes, impacting on the location of people, industry and human activity.

In addition to its research work, the Bureau's Regions Research Section collates regional statistics in the Progress in Australian Regions Yearbook and State of Regional Australia series publications. For instance, the Yearbook tracks the status of regions in according to a set of social, economic, environmental and governance indicators. It builds upon a progress framework originally developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in order to form a well-rounded understanding of the characteristics of each region. Through collating these sets of data in an accessible format, the Yearbook enables governments and communities to identify important trends and develop appropriate policy, investment and planning decisions.

1911 Towns according to Population Size (excluding the five largest mainland capitals)

Caption: 1911 Towns according to Population Size (excluding the five largest mainland capitals)

2006 Towns according to Population Size (excluding the five largest mainland capitals)

Caption: 2006 Towns according to Population Size (excluding the five largest mainland capitals)

A range of research publications covering subjects such as infrastructure, regions and cities, road, rail, safety, environment, energy, and freight are made freely available online at the BITRE website.