What is the purpose of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Sunshine Coast?

RDA Sunshine Coast is part of a network of 55 Regional Development Australia (RDA) organisations that have been created across Australia with the aim of strengthening and building regional communities.

What makes RDA Sunshine Coast different to other institutions and organisations on the Sunshine Coast?

RDA Sunshine Coast is a not-for-profit community-based organisation led by volunteers from a diverse cross section of society; community, business and local government.

RDA Sunshine Coast is a partnership between all three levels of government – Commonwealth, State and Local and is therefore uniquely placed to bring all three levels of government to bear on local challenges and priorities.

It will assist with regional leadership and resilience by building partnerships between governments, regional development organisations, the private sector and other regional stakeholders.

What is RDA Sunshine Coast chartered to do?

The priorities of local RDAs across Australia will vary by region – each committee will fill its own niche and respond to the individual needs of its region. A range of possibilities are defined in the RDA Sunshine Coast charter:

Being an important contributor to and driver of:

  • Regional Business Productivity Improvement Plans and Strategies (supporting economic development, creating new jobs, developing skills and business investment)
  • Environmental Solutions (supporting ongoing sustainability and the management of climate change (eg droughts, flooding, bushfires)
  • Social Inclusion (bringing together and supporting all members of the community)
  • Articulating local priorities, identifying and aligning resources, engaging stakeholders and promoting solutions.
  • Developing a strong understanding of federal, state and local government policies and initiatives and how local communities can engage with them.
  • Supporting, promoting and disseminating information on government policy initiatives for the benefit of local communities.
  • Bringing together organisations to take advantage of government programs, policies and initiatives.
  • Being an effective conduit between governments and regional communities, enabling all communities to provide input  to governments about the strengths and weaknesses of regional Australia.

What does whole-of-government activities mean?

The third of RDA Sunshine Coast’s five core roles is to promote whole-of-government approaches, which refers to fostering coordination between Commonwealth, State and Local government  by :

  • Being a first point of contact for information about Australian Government programs, services and initiatives and the source of consistent, reliable information from governments.
  • Referring individuals or businesses to sources of information or advice.
  • Being a first point of contact for Australian Government regional consultation.
  • Subject to the confines of its charter, entering into third party contracts with other agencies.

Will RDA Sunshine Coast promote government programs?

Yes. This is the fourth of the RDA Sunshine Coast’s five key roles and it includes:

  • Promoting Australian, state or territory and local government programs and initiatives to regional stakeholders.
  • Providing input to governments on the regional impact of their policy agenda.
  • Providing information and advice to communities about ways in which they can engage with government programs, policies and initiatives.
  • Help stakeholders develop applications for programs, for example bringing stakeholders with the same interests together or conducting grant-writing workshops.

Will RDA Sunshine Coast address community and economic development?

Increasing the capacity of the region to meet the needs of its members is the fifth key role of RDA Sunshine Coast; to that end the RDA Sunshine Coast will:

  • Promote economic and employment growth and contribute to business development and investment attraction.
  • Help broaden the region’s industry base and develop new products or markets, including export markets. Job creation and economic sustainability will be outcomes of this work.
  • Support social inclusion programs for disadvantaged groups , facilitate social interaction, provide financial support, improve housing conditions, access to services and education, help unemployed people find jobs; help “close the gap” for Indigenous Australians.

Another economic development  focus should be sustainability; eg identifying environmental and climate change issues, identifying linkages between existing Australian and state and territory government programs and initiatives, and developing strategies to bring together competing interests in the context of scarce resources.