In 2001-02 the Ministerial Offices recorded a 98.9 per cent level of satisfaction with the various types of advice sent to them. This represents an improvement over the previous year';s level of 96.7 per cent satisfaction. Because responses are recorded against Divisions it is not possible to provide specific data on a Key Result. A breakdown of these figures can be found in Part 5-Management and Accountability.
The Department provides a range of policy advice to our portfolio Ministers and their Offices to support their interest in a wide variety of regional issues.
One of the major policy outputs for the Department in 2001-02 was support in the preparation of the Government';s Regional Policy Statement, Stronger Regions, A Stronger Australia, which was completed in August 2001. The statement articulated the Government';s vision for a strong, positive and self-reliant regional Australia where communities have the power to lead their own future. The statement announced a partnership approach that fosters the development of self-reliant regional communities.
In July 2001, COAG agreed to establish the Regional Development Council (RDC). This new Ministerial Council comprises Ministers for regional development from all States and Territories, and the Australian Local Government Association, and is chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon John Anderson MP.
The aim of the RDC is to facilitate more effective cooperation across all spheres of government in order to achieve sustainable economic, social and environmental outcomes for regional Australia.
The Department provides secretariat support and policy advice to the RDC and to its supporting body of senior officials, the Standing Committee on Regional Development (SCORD), which met for the first time in May 2002.
The Department has also provided secretariat services to the COAG Review of Natural Disaster Relief and Mitigation Arrangements involving the three levels of government and other key stakeholders. The Department';s Secretary chaired a high-level group of senior officials undertaking the review. A report containing recommendations from this group is due to be completed in 2002.
It is expected that the review will lead to regional communities being better able to access opportunities to protect themselves from the effects of natural disasters.
Other examples of enhanced cooperative work across agencies are identified in the key strategies for Key Result 2.