The University of Western Australia has entered an agreement with six regional councils to form the WA Regional Cities Alliance to research major regional issues including population distribution, infrastructure and services, and employment.


Alliance members Albany, Bunbury, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Geraldton-Greenough, Port Hedland, Broome and Roebourne.


The Director of UWA's Centre for Regional Development, Professor Matthew Tonts, said regional cities had quite different needs to those of smaller rural towns and bigger metropolitan cities.


"The research will be used to improve decision-making in policy areas such as housing and land development, health and education, employment and population forecasts," Professor Tonts said.


The initial agreement covered five years and was worth about $2 million.