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Section 2: Outcomes and planned performance

2.1.3: Outcome 3: Assisting regions and local government to develop and manage their futures

Outcome 3 strategy

Outcome 3 is delivered through the following output groups and subordinate outputs (and associated administered programs):

Output Group Output  
3.1 Regional development 3.1.1 Regional development policy and programs  
3.2 Local government 3.2.1 Local government policy and programs

Contributing business divisions are listed in the section on 'Contributions to Outcome 3' to provide a link between the Department's organisational and outcome/output group structures.

Regional, rural and remote Australia accounts for over one third of the population and two thirds of Australia's export income. Australia's regions have made, and continue to make, a major contribution to Australia's economy and way of life. Australia's future prosperity and well-being depends to a significant degree on the strength of its regions.

During 2008-09 and the out years, the Department will continue to advise on and lead national efforts to address regional and local government issues, by:

  • delivering a range of administered programs and policy advice to support the sustainable development of self reliant and resilient communities; and

  • delivering Financial Assistance Grants to Local Governments.

Major new Outcome 3 initiatives during 2008-09 include:

  • implementing a Regional Development Australia (RDA) network, replacing the existing Area Consultative Committees;

  • establishing an Office of Northern Australia, to facilitate the provision of focussed policy advice and improve coordination between stakeholders;

  • establishing the Council of Australian Local Governments;

  • developing the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program (RLCIP) in consultation with key stakeholders; and

  • consulting with local, state and territory governments to consider constitutional recognition of local government.

In delivering the Outcome 3 outputs the Department will consult extensively with relevant stakeholders including local communities, state, territory and local governments and industry.

Outcome 3 resource statement

Table 2.5 provides additional detail of Budget appropriations and the total resourcing for Outcome 3.

Table 2.5: Total resources for Outcome 3

Table 2.6: Administered program expenses - Outcome 3

Contributions to Outcome 3

Output Group 3.1: Regional development
Output Group 3.1 contributes to Outcome 3 through the following output and its associated administered programs:
  • Output 3.1.1 Regional development policy and programs

 

Output 3.1.1 Regional development policy and programs (and associated administered programs)

(Local Government and Regional Development Division)

Output 3.1.1 contributes to Outcome 3 through a range of regionally focussed stakeholder consultation and engagement, research, policy development, and program delivery activities, including through support for the Office of Northern Australia as detailed below.

Components of Output 3.1.1 and associated administered programs:

Output 3.1.1 Regional development policy and programs

i. Supporting sustainable development

The Department delivers the following administered programs in order to target opportunities for economic and social participation, improve access to services, assist communities to plan for sustainable futures and assist structural adjustment:

  • Better Regions: which delivers the Government's 2007 election commitments by implementing important community and social infrastructure projects identified by local communities as priority investments for their regions.

  • Regional Partnerships: which funds projects that address specific regional needs.

  • Sustainable Regions: which assists ten specific regional communities to address issues they have identified.

  • Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal: a philanthropic partnership between the Australian Government and business.

  • Remote Air Services Subsidy Scheme: which supports 239 remote communities by subsidising a weekly air service for the carriage of passengers and essential freight to remote areas which would otherwise not receive such a service.

ii. Research to inform policy development

Research which informs Government and policy development of the social and economic conditions of regions will be supported through the following administered program:

  • Regional and Rural Research and Development Grants: which facilitates research into issues affecting Australia's regions.

iii. Regional engagement: Regional Development Australia

The administered program Regional Development Australia (RDA) will commence on 1 January 2009, and will provide a new framework to improve the coordination of regional development initiatives, ensuring there is effective engagement with local communities. RDA will be formed by transitioning the existing 54 Area Consultative Committees across Australia to become RDA committees. An interim RDA Board will provide advice to Government from 1 July 2008. The responsibilities of RDA will include:

  • advice on regional issues and opportunities including social inclusion, community infrastructure and the development of new and innovative industries and service delivery;

  • promotion of initiatives to retain and expand skills, local businesses and industries as well as Commonwealth programs; and

  • development of closer ties with the local government sector.

The Department will assist the Government to develop RDA by establishing administrative arrangements with the RDA network, including the execution of new operational funding and reporting arrangements.

iv. Office of Northern Australia (ONA)

ONA will provide the Government with policy advice on a range of sustainable development, economic, social and environmental issues affecting major projects and development in Northern Australia including:

  • priorities;

  • strategies that will promote sustainable development; and

  • barriers impeding the development of significant initiatives.

ONA will improve coordination between Government, business and communities in relation to major projects and sustainable development in Northern Australia, and will support the Northern Australia Land and Water Task Force. The task force will report to Government on the potential for future sustainable land and water development in Northern Australia.

v. Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program (RLCIP)

The RLCIP will support major investments in regional and local community infrastructure initiatives. Following an intensive consultation and design phase in 2008, a fully costed proposal will be submitted for consideration in the 2009-10 Budget for commencement in 2009.

Administered Programs

  • Better Regions

  • Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal

  • Regional and Rural Research and Development Grants

  • Regional Development Australia committees

  • Regional Partnerships

  • Remote Air Services Subsidy Scheme

  • Sustainable Regions

Key Performance Indicators (outputs) 2008-09 Target X-Ref

New operational funding contracts between the Department and RDA developed and executed.

31 December 2008.

iii

 

RDA established and operational.

1 January 2009.

Priority issues affecting major projects and sustainable development in Northern Australia identified through consultation.

30 June 2008.

iv

 

 

First taskforce progress report delivered to Government.

by 30 September 2008.

Taskforce Report on the investigation of further land and water development in Northern Australia delivered to Government.

by 30 June 2009.

Key Performance Indicators (administered programs) 2008-09 Target X-Ref
Programs support regional development including through: Projects are completed. i
  • funding for projects that partner with communities, government and business; and

All identified partners have contributed as agreed.

Projects are sustainable

  • continuation of air services to identified areas.

Identified air services are maintained.

Efficient and effective management of administered programs. Programs are administered in accordance with relevant legislation, published guidelines and ANAO guidance. i, ii, iii & iv

 

Output Group 3.2: Local government

Output Group 3.2 contributes to Outcome 3 through the following output and its associated administered programs:

  • 3.2.1 Local government policy and programs

 

Output 3.2.1 Local government policy and programs (and associated administered programs)

(Local Government and Regional Development Division)

Output 3.2 contributes to Outcome 3 by providing advice to the Government on local government issues and delivering programs as follows:

Components of Output 3.2.1 and associated administered programs:

Output 3.2.1 Local government policy and programs

i. Assisting Local Governments to provide residents with an equitable level of services through:

  • administration of the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act, 1995;

  • provision of the Local Government Financial Assistance Grants; and

  • providing Supplementary Funding to South Australian councils to offset the disadvantage to these councils under the distribution of the Local Government Financial Assistance Grants identified for local roads.

ii. Strengthening the role of local government through:

  • establishing the Council of Australian Local Governments (COALG) in accordance with the Government's election commitment;

  • consulting with local government stakeholders and state and territory governments on a process for constitutional recognition of local government;

  • promoting best practice local government service delivery through the National Awards for Local Government; and

  • supporting the Local Government and Planning Ministers' Council.

Administered Programs

  • Local Government Financial Assistance Grants

  • Supplementary funding to South Australian councils for local roads

Key Performance Indicators (outputs) 2008-09 Target X-Ref

The Council of Australian Local Governments is established.

By 1 January 2009.

ii

First two meetings of COALG.

By 30 June 2009.

COALG considers consultation process for the Constitutional recognition of local government.

By 30 June 2009.

2008 National Awards for Local Government announced.

By 31 December 2008.
Support for Local Government and Planning Ministers' Council meetings. Efficient and effective manner.
Key Performance Indicators (administered programs) 2008-09 Target X-Ref
Efficient and effective management of administered programs. Programs are administered in accordance with relevant legislation, published guidelines and ANAO guidance. i

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Budget 2008-09