The establishment of Regional Development Australia Committees in Australia: issues and initiatives for the future
Buultjens, J, Ambrosoli, K & Dollery, B 2012, 'The establishment of Regional Development Australia Committees in Australia: issues and initiatives for the future', Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 182-205.
The Australian federal government’s approach to regional development since the 2010 election has seen more emphasis placed on local empowerment and leadership. The government has indicated that the 55 Regional Development Australia (RDA) Committees are expected to provide leadership and facilitate the process of local decision making. This expectation would require substantial changes in the operational scope, responsibilities and power of RDAs. It is proposed that successful leadership in regional development requires a collaborative approach. In order to provide effective collaborative leadership, RDAs will need to have a clear view of what they are required to do as well as position themselves to undertake their activities in a collaborative manner. This paper presents an overview of the challenges and issues confronting RDAs in October 2010 as perceived by RDA staff and committee members. It is apparent representatives believed that RDAs had struggled to come to terms with their role and consequently they had been unable to establish authority with government departments, other regional development organisations and the community. A lack of adequate funding had also prevented RDAs from undertaking many of their intended activities. These challenges need to be addressed in order for RDAs to provide effective leadership and meet government expectations.