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Lead the development nationally of an integrated, whole of government approach to regional development and regional services, which supports communities' own solutions

Key strategy Performance indicators Achievement
Lead the development nationally of an integrated, whole of government approach to regional development and regional services, which supports communities' own solutions.
(Contributing divisions: Regional Policy and Regional Programmes*)
*Not noted in 2002-03 PBS
Communities that have improved access to information, programmes and services which enables them to build on capabilities and opportunities within their regions. Partially achieved

Key achievements

Two potential impediments to regional development are inconsistent government services and agencies sending mixed signals to regions seeking assistance to facilitate their own growth strategies.

The activities of three groups were integral to limiting the development of such impediments through their promotion of an integrated whole of government approach to regional development and services. These three groups are: the More Accessible Government (MAG) Working Group, the Standing Committee on Regional Development (SCORD) and the Deputy Secretaries Regional Whole of Government Group.

More Accessible Government Working Group

The MAG initiative aims to improve access to Commonwealth funding programmes and streamline funding administration-with a particular focus on regional, rural and remote communities.

A major outcome under the MAG initiative this year was completion of a package of standardised funding agreements. These standardised agreements provide a model that all government departments can use to simplify and harmonise their approach to funding agreements with community organisations. This will make it easier for communities to manage funding from the Commonwealth.

Standing Committee on Regional Development

SCORD, established in 2002, facilitates cross-government coordination and cooperation on regional issues. It does this through a formal sharing of information about programmes and initiatives between Commonwealth, state, territory and local government jurisdictions.

Its membership comprises the chief executive officers of the state and territory development agencies and a representative of the Australian Local Government Association. It has held three meetings so far. Key achievements include:

  • Under the Framework for Cooperation on Regional Development, a set of principles and actions identifying possible approaches to improving the way regional development organisations can work together better was developed. The aim is to reduce duplication, overlap and lack of coordination between the organisations.
  • A practitioners' guide to good practice in the attraction and retention of professional and skilled people in regional Australia. This case study based publication will illustrate innovative and practical ways to inspire communities to address issues at a local level.

Deputy Secretaries Regional Whole of Government Group

This committee, made up of senior executives of Commonwealth departments, was established in late 2002. It facilitates whole of Commonwealth coordination and cooperation on regional issues and reports to Cabinet. It aims to identify and promote the cultural and systemic changes needed to facilitate agencies delivering community led and regionally focused Commonwealth interventions that have sustainable outcomes.

This partnership approach is consistent with the government's current regional policy focus. It fosters the development of self-reliant regions, where regional communities lead their own development in partnership with government, and with the private sector taking an active role. The group has met three times.

A major achievement has been the identification of a range of issues impacting on regional Australia drawn from a report on Commonwealth programmes and initiatives that the group coordinated. The issues fall into two main types, delivering sustainable community led programmes and evaluation. These form the basis of the forward work plan for this group.

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