Regional development and local government

Program 3.1-Regional development


Under the $176.0 million Better Regions program 100 of the 106 projects approved for funding were contracted. Projects were identified by local communities as priority investments for their regions.

A total of 167 projects were contracted under the $40.0 million Jobs Fund-Bike Paths program. The program is expected to generate approximately 1,860 long-term and short-term jobs in communities across Australia.

The $150.0 million Jobs Fund-Infrastructure Employment Projects program implemented major, innovative projects that are expected to generate 261 jobs in communities affected by the economic downturn. Projects included the $20.0 million upgrade of roads, walking trails and accommodation facilities in the Fitzgerald River National Park in Western Australia.

Memorandums of understanding establishing the framework for Regional Development Australia (RDA) were signed with all state and territory governments. RDA committees were appointed in all state and territories.

The first RDA National Forum was held at Australian Parliament House, Canberra, on 18 March 2010. The forum, which was hosted by the Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, brought together committee chairs and deputy chairs to network to find solutions to common issues facing their regions, and to learn about relevant Australian Government programs, services and initiatives.

The final report of the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce, Sustainable Development of Northern Australia, was submitted to the Australian Government in December 2009 and released in February 2010.

The Department worked with the Western Australian Government, the Shire of Wyndham—East Kimberley and direct providers, to develop 29 project plans for the $195.2 million East Kimberley Development Package. These projects deliver social and common use infrastructure investments and complement the Western Australian Government's Ord Irrigation Expansion Project.


Program 3.1 was delivered through the work of the Local Government and Regional Development Division and the Office of Northern Australia contributing to a range of regionally focused stakeholder consultation and engagement, research, policy development, and administered item delivery activities.

Program 3.1 included the following administered items:

  • Better Regions
  • East Kimberley Development Package
  • Jobs Fund-Infrastructure Employment Projects
  • Jobs Fund-Bike Paths
  • Regional and Rural Research and Development Grants
  • Regional Development Australia committees
  • Regional Partnerships
  • Remote Air Services Subsidy Scheme, and
  • Regional Aviation Infrastructure Fund.

The budget and actual expenditure for each administered item is listed in Appendix A.

Summary of performance

Tables 5.1 and 5.2 summarise the Department's results in delivering Program 3.1 against the key performance indicators and deliverables and their targets published in the 2009–10 PBS.

Table 5.1 Summary of performance-Program 3.1 key performance indicators
Key performance indicator Target Result
Engagement with state, territory, local government and regional communities to facilitate sustainable economic and social development. RDA has a credible role within Australia's regions. Achieved
Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees have been appointed, and include at least two representatives from local government. Committees have opened offices and are building relationships with local governments and with community and business organisations. The key priority of committees is to prepare a regional plan/roadmap which provides a snapshot of the region and identifies priorities for action.

Strong committees are building a local profile and collaborating with stakeholders on issues and solutions.
Access to air services for remote communities is maintained or improved. Funded projects are completed and the Department manages all projects funded by the Government in accordance with contracted requirements. Achieved
The scheme provided 244 remote and isolated communities across 10 geographical regions with access to a regular air service for the carriage of passengers and goods including medicines, fresh food and educational materials.

Air operator contracts were managed according to contractual requirements.
Policy advice informs, and provides direction to the Government about key areas of need in regional Australia. Policy and administered items are developed and implemented to address regional needs. Achieved
The Department provides advice to other Australian Government agencies through Regional Australia Impact Statements.

Of the 10 funded projects of the Regional and Rural Research and Development Grants program, policy-orientated projects included a regional economic model, an analysis of tree change migration, and publications on local government cooperative models and sustainability in local governments.
Policies and administered items promote and support the sustainable development of Northern Australia. Delivery of final report of the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce by December 2009. Achieved
The taskforce's final report was provided to the Australian Government on 16 December 2009 and publicly released on 8 February 2010.
Results Key  
Not achieved None or minimal progress was made against targets in 2009–10
Partially achieved Some targets were met, and any issues are being managed
Substantially achieved Targets were mostly met, and any issues are being managed
Achieved All targets for 2009–10 were met or exceeded
Table 5.2 Summary of performance-Program 3.1 deliverables
Deliverable Target Result
Provide advice to the Government concerning Northern Australia issues. Advice as required to the satisfaction of the Minister and Parliamentary Secretary. The Office of Northern Australia (ONA) provided briefings and advice to the Parliamentary Secretary for Northern and Western Australia on issues affecting Northern Australia and contributed to initiatives managed by Australian Government agencies.
Provide secretariat, funding and other support to the Northern Australia Land and Water Task Force to enable delivery to the Government by December 2009 of the Task Force final report. Delivery of the Taskforce final report in accordance with the terms of reference. The Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce report, “The Sustainable Development of Northern Australia” was delivered on schedule, on 16 December 2009, and in accordance with the terms of reference. The report was released in February 2010.
Coordinate delivery of the East Kimberley Development Package and other administered items as required by the Government. Coordination of efficient, effective and timely delivery of the package. All projects in the East Kimberley Development Package have project plans, agreed by the National and State Coordinators, that detail project implementation, defining scope, budget and timeframes.
Enhance awareness of Northern Australia issues—including via better statistics, an enhanced website providing information to and about Northern Australia, and sponsorship and/or hosting of awareness raising events in the region. Publication of Statistical Compendium, an enhanced website and association with suitable events in Northern Australia. ONA promoted awareness of BITRE's Northern Australian Statistical Compendium 2009 and sponsored the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics conference in March 2010.

The ONA website continued to provide information on current projects and events.
Regional development objectives are supported through the effective and efficient delivery of administered items. Delivery of administered items consistent with guidelines and the Government's accountability requirements. More than $80.0 million of funding was provided to communities for more than 350 projects funded under regional development programs.

These programs were administered in accordance with the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines, relevant legislation, published guidelines and ANAO guidance. All grants were publicly disclosed on the Department's grants reporting requirements web page.
Coordination of regional development policy and items, engagement with regional communities, management of administered items and policy advice to Government. Policy and administered items are developed and implemented to meet regional needs. Regional Development Australia supported the engagement with regional communities.

The Department assisted the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, which provides small grants to community bodies in regional Australia, in accordance with its funding agreement.
Involvement in government committees and other forums so as to put forward issues relevant to Northern Australia and enhance alignment of the Government's policies and program delivery. Involvement in government committees and other forums. ONA has been effectively engaging with federal, state and territory agencies on key policy and programs operating in Northern Australia.
Efficient and effective management of administered items. Items are administered in accordance with relevant legislation, published guidelines and ANAO guidance. Administered in accordance with relevant legislation and guidelines.

Table 5.3 provides a summary of the results achieved by each of the administered items under Program 3.1.

Table 5.3 Summary of performance-Program 3.1 administered items
Administered item Result
Better Regions A total of 106 projects were approved by 30 June 2010, of which the Department has contracted 100.
East Kimberley Development Package The 27 projects established in 2009–10 translated into 29 project plans, all of which were approved.

A National Partnership Agreement with the Western Australian Government covers 21 projects. The Department has funding agreements for six projects with the Shire of Wyndham—East Kimberley and two funding agreements with direct providers.

Of the $87.1 million allocated in 2009–10, $82.9 million was expended. The residual $4.3 million was re-phased for payments occurring in 2010–11.
Jobs Fund-Infrastructure Employment Projects The Department contracted four Infrastructure Employment Projects. By 30 June 2010, a total of six projects had been approved.
Jobs Fund-Bike Paths The Department assessed more than 250 applications for bike path projects;
173 projects were approved for funding and 167 of those were contracted. Construction was completed for 75 projects.
Regional and Rural Research and Development Grants The Regional and Rural Research and Development Grants program guidelines address three strategic priorities: Australian Government regional priorities; small local government and community support; and regional development conference support. In 2009–10, the program funded 10 projects.
Regional Development Australia committees The Department provided funding to 55 Regional Development Australia committees via Operational Funding Agreements, which set out performance, governance and financial obligations.
Regional Partnerships The Department has finalised an additional 66 Regional Partnerships projects; the remaining 14 projects will be finalised by 30 June 2011.
Remote Air Services Subsidy Scheme The scheme provided 244 remote and isolated communities across 10 geographical regions with access to a regular air service for the carriage of passengers and goods including medicines, fresh food and educational materials.

Air operator contracts were managed according to contractual requirements.
Remote Aviation Infrastructure Fund Inspections were undertaken of relevant airstrips receiving services under the Remote Air Services Subsidy Scheme. The program of Remote Aviation Infrastructure Fund works was developed from these inspections and the first contract for works was signed following an open tender process. This contract is for the provision of works to four aerodromes in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in South Australia.

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Last Updated: 24 October, 2014