Lead by example in making use of services and skills available in regional Australia
|Key strategy||Performance indicators||Achievement|
|Lead by example in making use of services and skills available in regional Australia.
(Contributing divisions: Regional Policy and Regional Programmes)
|Providing opportunities directly to regional Australia.||Achieved|
In the spirit of helping regional Australia help themselves, as embodied in the government's Stronger Regions, A Stronger Australia statement, the department aims to lead by example in making use of the services and skills available in regional Australia.
The department's ongoing engagement within regional communities has provided greater opportunities for regional Australians to directly influence Commonwealth policy development and has improved policy outcomes.
Regional information service
The department provides the Commonwealth Regional Information Service. This service offers easy access to information on Commonwealth government services and programmes for regional, rural and remote Australians. This information is supplied through:
- a free-call telephone answer service that provides initial information and referrals to administering agencies on 1800 026 222
- a mobile shopfront that attends field days, country shows and community and industry events - the schedule can be accessed through our website at www.dotars.gov.au/cris/shopfront.htm
- community information stands located around Australia with community groups providing a local source of information
- the Commonwealth Regional Information Directory - a free and comprehensive directory of Commonwealth services and programmes. An electronic copy can be found at www.dotars.gov.au/regional/publications/crid/index.aspx and hard copies can be obtained through telephoning the answering service on 1800 026 222.
Area Consultative Committees
The national network of Area Consultative Committees (ACCs) provides an important link between the Australian Government and rural and metropolitan Australia. As volunteer community based organisations, ACCs are uniquely placed to respond to issues in their regions and provide a vital conduit to government on local, social and economic conditions.
ACCs work in partnership with the department to identify opportunities, priorities and development strategies for their regions. In 2002-03 the ACC network adopted a new charter and ministerial statement of priorities identifying their key responsibilities as:
- being a key facilitator of change and development in their region
- being the link between government, business and the community
- facilitating whole of government responses to opportunities in their communities.
In addition to their role in endorsing projects under the Regional Assistance Programme, ACCs facilitated a range of community consultations in relation to tourism, AusLink and an analysis of regional business development, the Regional Business Development Analysis (RBDA).
Regional Business Development Analysis
An initiative of Stronger Regions, A Stronger Australia, the Regional Business Development Analysis (RBDA) aims to develop options that can reduce impediments to business growth and improve the environment in which regional businesses operate. A small independent panel, appointed by the Minister for Transport and Regional Services in June 2002, is undertaking the analysis.
The panel received 197 submissions, undertook extensive research and visited 50 regional centres, listening to the views of more than 1000 people. The panel will report to the minister in July 2003.
Newcastle Structural Adjustment Package
The $10 million package was established in 1999 to support private sector investment in the Newcastle/Hunter region that would result in sustainable employment growth following the closure of BHP. Nineteen projects have been approved and all funding has been committed.
Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation
The department supports the statutory authority established under the Albury-Wodonga Development Act 1973, and advises the Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government on his responsibilities under the Act (including his role as chair of the Albury-Wodonga Ministerial Council). In 2002-03 the department also provided the secretariat to a working group to provide options to the minister on the Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation Land Bank.
Regional Women's Advisory Council
The second Regional Women's Advisory Council was appointed in September 2002 to provide a women's perspective on issues that affect communities in regional Australia by directly advising the minister. The Council also provides the minister with a quarterly report, Hot and Emerging Issues, which outlines issues that are of concern to regional, rural and remote communities.
In the past year the council has achieved the following milestones:
- Development of a work plan for its two-year term that focuses on 'Building Stronger Communities'. The aim of the work plan is to encourage informed debate and influence decision-making.
- Completion of community consultation projects which provide a basis for promoting best practice in communities, and for advising the Australian Government on ways to encourage a positive response to managing change.
- Completion of a social issues report advising the minister on how effectively Australian Government programmes are addressing some of the pressing social issues faced by regional communities.
Other examples where the department has successfully engaged regional communities include:
- Convening a regional tourism roundtable, the outcomes of which fed into the development of the Tourism Green Paper. This resulted in a greater focus in the Green Paper on regional tourism issues.
- Providing comments and attending consultations on the 10-Year Plan for Tourism discussion paper being prepared by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources.
- Consultation for the development of the AusLink White Paper, which is a new national land transport infrastructure plan. Further information can be found under Outcome 1, Priority: Transport infrastructure p. 52.
- Providing input to the Senate Employment, Workplace Relations and Education References Committee Inquiry into Small Business Employment.