Priority : Improvements in regional programme design and delivery and development of a framework of core indicators for the health of the regions and evaluation of regional programmes
A major change for regional programmes was the decision by government to combine nine existing regional programmes into a single programme called Regional Partnerships.
The decision followed the department's in-depth review of the range of regional programmes it administers. This included extensive consultation with stakeholders and analysis of programme outcomes and operations, including consultation with successful and unsuccessful applicants to determine key areas for improving programme delivery and design.
Launched on 26 June 2003, Regional Partnerships aims to deliver improved outcomes for communities including simplifying access to government support. The resulting one set of guidelines and one simple application process makes it easier for communities to access funding for local projects. Through the programme the Commonwealth will support projects that focus on strengthening growth opportunities, support planning and improve access to services. Projects which harness community support and engage other funding partners will be well regarded.
Regional Partnerships demonstrates the Commonwealth's approach to regional development of working in partnership with communities, other governments and the private sector to foster the development of self-reliant communities and regions.
The department commissioned the Bureau of Rural Sciences to develop a nationally consistent set of regional wellbeing indicators. The indicator framework will serve a number of purposes:
- a tool for policy analysis, to identify particular regions which meet or exceed a range of criteria
- a mechanism for monitoring the development of regions
- a platform for regional users to develop their own indicators and monitor the progress of their own region
- the basis to inform an assessment of regional policies and programmes across Commonwealth agencies and other spheres of government.
The indicator set was delivered in June 2003 and is being used to inform internal policy development and analysis. The department is currently exploring mechanisms for making the indicators available to communities and regional users.