Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss has announced that the government would continue to fund the existing Regional Development Australia (RDA) network.
“The review of the current regional engagement model identified that many RDA committees are highly valued in their regions and were thought to be providing valuable advice to business and communities on economic development opportunities,” he told delegates at last week’s SEGRA Conference.
“RDA committees will be expected to focus more strongly on regional economic development and facilitating local projects which aimed to make a difference for their local communities.”
Mr Truss said RDA committees would be funded to:
- Maintain and keep current a three to five-year regional plan that focuses on economic development of their region taking into account Commonwealth, state, territory and local government plans.
- Committees will advise on those priority activities that will drive regional economic development and take advantage of comparative advantages, based on consultation and engagement with community leaders.
- They will also assist local community stakeholders to develop project proposals and will help shepherd them to appropriate public and/or private funding sources – including the $1 billion National Stronger Regions Fund.
- Committees will be charged with providing advice to the government on critical issues affecting each region.
- They will also be a mechanism to increase awareness of Australian Government programs in their communities.
RDA Sunshine Coast CEO Russell Mason said the committee would continue to support local activities which focused on driving regional development.
“We look forward to strengthening our existing partnerships with community stakeholders to develop project proposals and take advantage of funding sources such as the National Stronger Regions Fund to enhance the economic and social wellbeing of the Sunshine Coast,” Mr Mason said.