RDA reform – from strategy to action
Australia’s regions have very different economic development opportunities and the Regional Development Australia network (RDAs) are a small, strategic investment by the Commonwealth to facilitate active and collaborative pursuit of these opportunities, led by people in the region.
RDAs are unique in their direct connection to Commonwealth policy combined with an ability to independently facilitate regional level development initiatives. Leadership in key areas of regional economic opportunity that co-opts the resources or convening power of the Commonwealth is important for all regions.
For RDAs to leverage their potential influence there is a need to move away from generic planning and high level catch all objectives, towards a focussed action agenda targeting each region’s most important development priorities. The best performing RDAs are already seeking to achieve this shift, despite impediments.
Leveraging the RDA network to target regional outcomes across the Commonwealth’s suite of economic development initiatives is a key opportunity for reform. Elements of the Commonwealth infrastructure, employment, immigration and industry agendas need effective implementation at the regional level. RDAs should enable governments to leverage better value for money across these investments by ensuring they target specific regional issues.
The RAI’s policy brief on reforms to the RDA network can be downloaded here.