Part 2: Performance Report (page 2)

Major achievements

Strengthening RDAs

In 2012–13 the department rolled out a number of initiatives to strengthen the RDA network. Additional resources were provided to committees to implement performance improvement processes, with professional development courses trialled in a number of RDA committees. The courses covered topics such as governance, financial management and progressive change. The department will continue to investigate oppurtunities to further strengthen the RDA network in order to increase engagement with local communities.

The department also developed an improved and simplified three-year funding agreement and redeveloped the RDA website, www.rda.gov.au, which provides information about RDAs around Australia, including a map of RDA boundaries.

Highlights from the work of RDA committees

Each RDA committee engaged in a wide range of initiatives during 2012–13 to support regional planning and economic development. Some examples follow.

RDA Pilbara (Western Australia) held a series of workshops with representatives from local governments, resource industries, local businesses, Indigenous groups and not-for-profit organisations to develop the draft Pilbara State of the Environment Report 2013. Commissioned by RDA Pilbara in collaboration with local shire councils, the report aims to improve understanding of future risks and facilitate effective management of the Pilbara's environmental and cultural systems.

RDA Logan and Redlands (Queensland) co-hosted two workshops exploring how not-for-profit organisations can use community finance to build income-producing assets and reduce their reliance on government funding sources over the long term. More than 50 not-for-profit organisations from the region attended the workshops which focused on different ways local organisations could capitalise on their strengths and resources to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

RDA Tasmania collaborated with the Dorset Council, the Tasmanian Government and the Dorset community in north-east Tasmania to deliver major projects including the Centre for Food Innovation and the Dorset Agriculture Economic Study.

The study identified future infrastructure and workforce needs to help the region maximise its agricultural opportunities.

RDA Australian Capital Territory, RDA Southern Inland (NSW) and RDA Far South Coast (NSW) are participating in a cross regional clean energy partnership. Known as the South East Region of Renewable Energy Excellence, it is a network of the region's renewable energy stakeholders. The network has showcased the region's clean energy initiatives at a number of forums, including a Renewable Energy Day in November 2012.

Coordinated regional planning

The 55 RDA committees each produced a regional plan in 2012–13 outlining their region's strengths, challenges, needs and strategic priorities. The plans provide committees, communities, organisations, industry, investors and all levels of government with a better understanding of regional strategic priorities and local issues.

During 2012–13, the regional plans assisted RDA committees, local governments and other regional leaders to identify comparative advantages, to manage regional growth pressures and to make the most of future opportunities.

The department developed a new, standardised regional plan template during 2012–13 in partnership with the RDA committees. The template is based around key determinants of long-term regional economic development and promotes continuous improvement of regional plans to ensure that their contribution to regional data, evidence and policy-making continues to develop in the years ahead.

Table 4: Regional Development Australia committees

Table 4: Regional Development Australia committees
New South Wales
  • Central Coast
  • Central West
  • Far West
  • Hunter
  • Illawarra
  • Mid North Coast
  • Murray
  • Northern Inland
  • Northern Rivers
  • Orana
  • Riverina
  • South Coast
  • Southern Inland
  • Sydney
Tasmania
  • Tasmania
Territories
  • Northern Territory
  • Australian Capital Territory
Victoria
  • Barwon South West
  • Gippsland
  • Grampians
  • Hume
  • Loddon Mallee Melbourne East
  • Northern Melbourne
  • Southern Melbourne
  • Western Melbourne
Queensland
  • Brisbane City
  • Darling Downs and South West
  • Far North Queensland and Torres Strait
  • Fitzroy and Central West
  • Gold Coast
  • Ipswich and West Moreton
  • Logan and Redlands
  • Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday
  • Moreton Bay
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Townsville and North West
  • Wide Bay Burnett
South Australia
  • Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island
  • Adelaide Metropolitan
  • Barossa
  • Far North
  • Limestone Coast
  • Murraylands and Riverland
  • Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula
  • Yorke and Mid North
Western Australia
  • Goldfields Esperance
  • Great Southern
  • Kimberley
  • Mid West Gascoyne
  • Peel
  • Perth
  • Pilbara
  • South West
  • Wheatbelt

Outcome 1

Program 1.1 Regional Development

Regional and Local Infrastructure Programs

The department administers programs that provide funding for economic and social infrastructure projects to enhance the development of Australia's regions.

The Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) of around $1 billion helped to enhance economic and community development in Australia's regions. Funding was provided for priority community regional infrastructure projects.

The Community Infrastructure Grants Program also funded a range of priority community priority projects.

Table 5 summarises the department's performance against its key performance indicators for 2012–13, which were all achieved.

Image: A large, modern open-planned learning facility with rows of books on contemporary shelving. The Hume Global Learning Centre in Craigieburn was part-funded by the Regional and Local Community
Infrastructure Program. (Photo courtesy of Hume City Council.)

The Hume Global Learning Centre in Craigieburn was part-funded by the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program. (Photo courtesy of Hume City Council.)

Table 5: Program 1.1: Regional development—regional and local infrastructure programs—performance results

Table 5: Program 1.1: Regional development—regional and local infrastructure programs—performance results
Deliverables
  • Regional Development Australia Fund supports infrastructure needs that enhance the economic and community development of Australia's regions.
  • Community Infrastructure Grants program deliver the Government's funding commitments by implementing community and social infrastructure projects identified by local communities as priority investments for their regions.
Key performance indicators Resultsa
  • Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) projects support and strengthen regional economic development and/or community liveability.
Achieved

Rounds One and Two of RDAF provided $350 million to support 81 projects with a total value of $1.2 billion.
  • The Minister and Regional Development Australia Fund Advisory Panel are well informed by relevant and timely advice founded on robust analysis.
Achieved

The RDAF Advisory Panel and the Minister were provided with reliable, appropriate and timely advice (including due diligence and value for money assessments) on applications for RDAF Rounds Three and Four.

2011–12 result: Achieved
  • Community Infrastructure Grants are assessed to ensure compliance with the value for money framework.
Achieved

All approved Community Infrastructure Grants projects were assessed for value for money in line with the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines.

2011–12 result: Achieved

a Trend information provided where available.

Major achievements

Regional Development Australia Fund

In 2012–13, the department managed five RDAF funding rounds, which were at various stages of progression. Several of the Round One projects reached successful completion during the year, the Round Two projects were under way and Rounds Three, Four and Five were initiated.

Rounds Three and Four

Each RDA committee considered all expressions of interest submitted for projects in its region and selected up to five projects to proceed to full application for Round Three and up to three projects for Round Four. In Round Three, RDA committees short-listed 216 projects to proceed to full application, seeking $84.7 million in grant funding. In Round Four, 176 projects seeking $911.8 million in grant funding were selected to proceed to full application.

The minister announced approval of 79 projects for Round Three valued at approximately $31.1 million in May 2013. The Round Four projects were announced progressively beginning in June 2013. In total, 42 projects were approved in Round Four with a value of $195.2 million.

The projects funded in Round Three include upgrades to regional airports, refurbishments to and construction of new sporting, cultural and arts facilities and development of community hubs and centres to support the disadvantaged.

The projects funded in Round Four include major upgrades to road, rail and sea infrastructure, new and upgraded sporting and entertainment facilities and tourism developments.

Round Five

The minister announced Round Five of the RDAF program on 19 June 2013 and applications opened on 21 June 2013. The round will provide $150 million to eligible local governments for capital infrastructure projects.

Funding will be allocated among the states and territories on a per capita basis. Each eligible local government will receive a base grant of $30,000, and the remaining funding in each state or territory will be distributed in the same proportion as the general purpose funding component of the local government Financial Assistance Grants for 2012–13 (as determined by each state and territory Local Government Grants Commission).

Community Infrastructure Grants Program

The department is overseeing expenditure of $256.3 million for 102 projects across Australia through the Community Infrastructure Grants Program from 2011 to 2015. These projects involve the construction and upgrade of local sport, arts, recreation and community infrastructure. Eighty-four projects had been approved and 40 completed by 30 June 2013, 27 of which were completed in 2012–13.

Image: A new sign signifying the start of the Gabul Way pedestrian and cycle path.

Gabul Way on Magnetic Island: Almost $5 million was granted under the Regional Development Australia Fund Program to build a pedestrian and cycle path between the four villages on Magnetic Island.

Outcome 1

Program 1.1 Regional Development

East Kimberley Development Package

The East Kimberley Development Package was launched in 2009 to provide funding for social and community infrastructure projects in the East Kimberley region. The department coordinates delivery of the package, in collaboration with the Western Australian Government, local government and community organisations.

The East Kimberley Development Package supports initiatives across health, education, housing, transport and community sectors of the region, as well as providing employment and education opportunities for East Kimberley communities.

Table 6 summarises the department's performance against its key performance indicator for 2012–13, which was achieved.

Image: A newly-constructed education facility. The Kununurra Out of School Hours Care Facility was completed in early 2013 with funding assistance through
the East Kimberley Development Package. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Education Office of Western Australia.)

The Kununurra Out of School Hours Care Facility was completed in early 2013 with funding assistance through the East Kimberley Development Package. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Education Office of Western Australia.)

Table 6: Program 1.1: Regional development—East Kimberley Development Package—performance results

Table 6: Program 1.1: Regional development—East Kimberley Development Package—performance results
Deliverables
  • Coordinate delivery of the East Kimberley Development Package, in collaboration with the Western Australian Government, local government and community organisations, to provide social and community infrastructure to complement further agricultural development in the Ord Irrigation Area.
Key performance indicator Results
  • Initiatives under the East Kimberley Development Package are implemented by the end of 2012–13.
Achieved

Projects completed in 2012–13 improved services and infrastructure in the health, education, housing and community sectors.

Major achievements

East Kimberley Development Package

The East Kimberley Development Package has delivered $195.17 million across 28 projects covering the health, education, housing, transport and community sectors.

In 2012–13, the last nine projects were delivered by the Western Australian Government and the final $7.04 million in associated payments were made to the state by the Australian Government.

In 2012–13, key projects included:

  • expanding and improving facilities for students at the Kununurra Education Precinct with an investment of $48.9 million
  • building a $20.3 million primary health care centre in Kununurra
  • creating a 16-bed short-stay patient accommodation facility to support patients coming to Kununurra for health treatment.

Outcome 1

Program 1.1 Regional Development

Northern Australia Sustainable Future

The Northern Australia Sustainable Futures program was set up in 2010 as an initial response to the recommendations of the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce. The program comprises eight components and addresses regional development challenges in cooperation with the Queensland, Western Australian and Northern Territory governments.

The department supports sustainable development outcomes and improved coordination between governments and with key stakeholders through studies, research, economic analysis, and collaboration and partnerships.

Table 7 summarises the department's performance against its key performance indicators for 2012–13, both of which were achieved.

Image: Various types of cattle in holding yards.

The Northern Australia Sustainable Futures program supported research into the beef industry in 2012–13. (Photo courtesy of CSIRO.)

Table 7: Program 1.1: Regional development—Northern Australia Sustainable Futures—performance results

Table 7: Program 1.1: Regional development—Northern Australia Sustainable Futures—performance results
Deliverables
  • Provide advice to the Government concerning northern Australia issues including long term diversification options for the region such as through the beef industry, water, resources and Indigenous economic development.
  • Deliver a response to the Government to the report of the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce.
  • Continue to progress northern Australia issues, effective operation of the Northern Australia Ministerial Forum and Northern Australia Sustainable Futures Program initiatives.
Key performance indicators Resultsa
  • Policies and administered items promote and support the sustainable development of northern Australia.
Achieved

The Northern Australia Sustainable Futures program delivered research and analysis into a range of issues to support the sustainable development of northern Australia.

2011–12 result: Achieved
  • Joint actions are developed and implemented through the Northern Australia Ministerial Forum.
Achieved

Participation in the forum's initiatives by the Commonwealth and relevant states and territories is now entrenched and reflects the integrated nature of regional development issues.

2011–12 result: Achievedb

a Trend information provided where available.

b The wording of this key performance indicator was updated in the 2012–13 Portfolio Budget Statements. In 2011–12, it read ‘Northern Australia Ministerial Forum established and effective’.

Major achievements

Research and analysis

In 2012–13, the Northern Australia Sustainable Futures program helped facilitate research and analysis of a range of issues, including:

  • risks and opportunities facing the northern beef industry
  • the outlook for bulk resources and large-scale infrastructure investment priorities
  • water resource development and opportunities to grow irrigated agriculture in the north
  • the potential scope of opportunities in the emerging market for carbon
  • land tenure issues and the feasibility and benefits of harmonising tenure arrangements across northern Australia.

Northern Australia Ministerial Forum

The Northern Australia Ministerial Forum is an important element of the Northern Australia Sustainable Futures program, and has been instrumental in providing national leadership and facilitating active collaboration across the four jurisdictions.

Originally conceived as a forum for regional development ministers, participation by other ministers and their departments is now common and reflects the integrated nature of regional development issues. For example, a Northern Australia Agriculture Ministers Forum was established to complement the Northern Australia Ministerial Forum and regularly reports on progress in implementing the Northern Australia Beef Industry Action Agenda.

The department supports the operation of the Northern Australia Ministerial Forum, which met twice in 2012–13, in Kununurra on 22–24 November 2012 and Cairns on 13–14 June 2013.

Ord River memorandum of understanding

At the Northern Australia Ministerial Forum meeting on 22–24 November 2012, the Western Australian, Northern Territory and Australian governments signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate extension of the Ord irrigation scheme into the Northern Territory. The parties made a commitment to work together through an Ord Senior Officials Working Group, under the Northern Australia Ministerial Forum, to facilitate the potential expansion of the Ord irrigation scheme. The working group is considering issues such as native title negotiations, cross-border arrangements, environmental approvals and infrastructure provision.

The Senior Officials Working Group is chaired by the department and met three times in 2012–13. In line with the memorandum of understanding, the Australian Government provided $350,000 to assist the Northern Territory Government to negotiate with traditional owners and conduct a review of cross-border arrangements.

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