What is Regional Development Australia?
Regional Development Australia (RDA) is a partnership between the Australian Federal, State, Territory and Local governments to support the growth and development of Australia's regions. RDA committees build partnerships between governments, regional development organisations, local businesses, community groups and key regional stakeholders to provide strategic and targeted responses to economic, environmental and social issues affecting the regions of Australia.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Australian Federal and NSW State Governments was signed in March 2009 to lay the foundations for RDA committees in NSW. It states that each RDA will:
- Provide advice to government about regional issues;
- Provide strategic input into National and State programs;
- Provide information to regional communities and local government on National and State government initiatives;
- Help to co-ordinate regional planning and regional development initiatives; and
- Work closely with local governments and other regional organisations.
RDA is delivered through a national network of 55 committees with a national RDA Charter which sets out the areas of focus for the RDA network.
RDA NSW Central Coast
RDA NSW Central Coast (RDACC) commenced operation on 1 July 2009 and operates within the Central Coast region, comprising of the local government areas of Wyong Shire and Gosford City.
RDACC is provided with operational funding via funding agreements with both the Australian Federal Government (through the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government Arts & Sport) and NSW State Governments (through NSW Trade & Investment). The Board of RDACC is appointed by agreement between the Federal and State Governments and is made up of 12 regional representatives from a variety of backgrounds.
Key Focus of RDA
A key focus of Regional Development Australia committees is on the economic, social and environmental issues affecting communities. In this respect, the RDA National Charter sets out that all RDA committees will be an important contributor to and driver of:
- Regional business growth plans and strategies, which will help support economic development, the creation of new jobs, skills development and business investment;
- Environmental solutions, which will support ongoing sustainability and the management of climate change (including the impact of drought, flood or bushfires), and
- Social inclusion strategies, which will bring together and support all members of the community.
Through our activities, RDA Central Coast NSW will support, promote and disseminate information on government policy initiatives for the benefit of local communities. To this end, Regional Development Australia committees and Chairs will have a strong understanding of Federal, State and Local Government policies and initiatives, and the ways in which local communities can engage with them. Regional Development Australia will take a leadership role in bringing together organisations to take advantage of government programs, policies and initiatives.
Regional Development Australia will be an effective conduit between governments and regional communities. It will enable all communities to provide input to governments about the strengths and weaknesses of regional Australia.
A significant component of providing that ‘link’ between government and community is through the development of regional strategies, providing a consolidated ‘voice’ for the region – setting key priorities and targets, and setting an appropriate path for the prosperity of the Central Coast.