Walkom welcomes commitment to regions


Walkom welcomes commitment to regions

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana chairman John Walkom has welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to the organisation and says it will allow for RDA Orana to continue supporting the growth and development of the region.

“I welcome the announcement that funding to RDAs will continue and thank the government for their ongoing faith in our future,” he said.

Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash made an announcement about the RDA network following an independent review undertaken by fellow politician Warwick Smith.

One of the key findings of the review shows that the value of the RDA program lies in ‘soft infrastructure such as networking, facilitation, brokering and advocacy, not in the management and development of regional planning which duplicate activities performed by state and local government bodies.’

Minister Nash said that being in touch with their local communities was integral to the future operation of RDAs across the nation.

“The truth is regions decide their own futures,” she said.

“Government can help row the boat but cannot choose the direction in which to sail – only local communities and leaders can do that. Regions with strong leadership thrive – proof of this is found all over Australia.”

Until now, RDA Committees have been mostly involved in developing and implementing plans for their regions. They will now focus on attracting investment and jobs to those same regions.

The Federal Government has refocused the organisation, with RDA Orana forming part of a network of 55 committees, each with a chair and deputy char, involving more than 500 volunteer board members.

RDA Committees will also have their funding extended until 31 December 2020.

Mr Walkom was pleased to confirm the commitment which will ensure stability for the future.

“It is great that we will be able to continue the work we are doing as an independent body working with Local and State Government as well as project proponents. We believe we have a clear role helping to facilitate investment in the region as an independent apolitical organisation. This announcement means that we will be well-positioned to continue to do that for the next three years and to make a valuable contribution to the region and how it develops.”/ENDS

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