Western Plains Regional Council planning panel to “ensure transparency”

dubbo city council regional developmentRepresentatives from different local government areas were chosen to represent Western Plains Regional Council on a planning panel to “ensure transparency”.

The previous Joint Regional Planning Panel members were former Dubbo councillors Lyn Griffiths and Kevin Parker, however they were unable to continue in the position after the council amalgamation.

Instead, Western Plains Regional Council administrator Michael Kneipp has appointed Mid Western Regional Council’s manager statutory planning Lindsay Dunston and Gilgandra Shire Council’s director environmental services Lindsay Mathieson.

Mr Kneipp said the nominees were chosen based on experience and qualifications, according to the panel’s operating procedure.

“Dubbo staff were not nominated as council staff actually do the assessment reports for the Joint Regional Planning Panel for Western Plains Regional Council matters, thus to ensure transparency in the process WPRC staff were not nominated to sit on the JRPP to determine WPRC matters,” he said.

The JRPP makes decisions on large regional development projects such as those with a capital investment value more than $20 million. There are six regional panels across NSW, each consisting of five members.

The council representatives will stay in the position until the local government elections in September 2017. To read more click here.

The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference; Participation and Progress will be held in Canberra on 5 – 6 September 2016 to register for the conference CLICK HERE.

The conference explores opportunities for innovation in regional Australia. With its rich resources, diversity, and value, regional Australia is the catalyst for the future.

Addressing issues such as sustainable development, environmental sustainability, land use, community development, investment, agribusiness and innovation it is an opportunity not to be missed.

There is still a last minute opportunity to speak at the Conference.  If you would like to speak at the Conference you are invited to submit a 300 word abstract speaking within regional development on attracting business success, employment, infrastructure, health aged care and more. CLICK HERE to submit an abstract. Abstracts remain open until Monday 13th June.

Inconsistent distribution of funds means millions are missing

geelong unfair fundingAre regional stakeholders competing against metro areas that naturally have more resources to put together a stronger application more likely to receive funding?

Tens of millions of dollars in federal funding has been directed to Melbourne suburbs under a regional infrastructure fund as reported by Geelong Advertiser.

Analysis of approved projects shows that the National Stronger Regions Fund has bankrolled major developments in metropolitan areas.

More than $33 million has gone to suburbs in the Victorian capital, including $2.5m for a business and education hub in Sunshine, just 12km from the CBD.

Other grants have included $9m for an aquatic centre in Craigieburn and $5.5m for a town centre project in Melton.

It is a similar tale across the country, with $6 million directed towards infrastructure within 3km of the Brisbane CBD.

Geelong has received support for three projects through the first two rounds of funding, with a new aged care facility in Norlane receiving the bulk of the $7.47m directed to the city.

Application for the third round of funding has closed, with the next list of successful projects expected to be announced in coming months.

The Royal Geelong Yacht Club and Geelong City Bowls Club are among applicants from the region.

As part of our Fair Go campaign, the Geelong Advertiser is shining a spotlight on regional disadvantage as part of a co-ordinated Fair Go campaign with our sister papers across Australia.

A spokeswoman for Regional Capitals Australia said the list of approved projects had come as a shock.

“We strongly support the creation of regional funding because of the investment opportunity for infrastructure projects in regional capitals,” she said.

“However, after recipients from Round One were announced, we realised that regional stakeholders were competing against metro areas that naturally had more resources to put together a stronger application.”

“The NSRF is an example of the difficulty faced by regional Australia in funding infrastructure: lack of transparency and consistency.”

The spokeswoman said infrastructure was not consistently funded in Australia.

“Multiple levels of government handle soft and hard infrastructure under a plethora of different funding arrangements,” she said.

“The only predictable sources of funding for regional Australia are the Black Spot program and the Roads to Recovery program. To read more click here.

Regional funding will be discussed at The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference; Participation and Progress which will be held in Canberra on 5 – 6 September 2016.

The conference explores opportunities for innovation in regional Australia. With its rich resources, diversity, and value, regional Australia is the catalyst for the future.

Addressing issues such as sustainable development, environmental sustainability, land use, community development, investment, agribusiness and innovation it is an opportunity not to be missed.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

 

 

Aussies living in regional areas die younger, are less educated and have fewer job prospects

regional austraia job prospectsWhile our politicians are feathering their own nests spending critical funding in the most privileged cities, 6.8 million people who reside in regional and remote Australia are being denied access to basic services.

A News Corp investigation of ABS data shows they die younger, are less educated, and have fewer employment prospects.

The figures expose a catastrophe that has been decades in the making — a disaster that has been drilled by government neglect.

Today, News Corp Australia draws a line in the sand to stop thhttp://regionaldevelopment.org.au/blog/wp-admin/post-new.phpe injustice and demand a Fair Go for Regional Australia.

The one in three Australians in the regional and remote areas deserve the same access to health care, education, and employment prospects as those in our capital cities.

Living in the bush should not be a life sentence.

The campaign will put pressure on our politicians in the lead up to the Federal Election to deliver a Fair Go for the regions.

If we look at Social Atlas of Australia median age of death figures from 2012, on average, people in Sydney and Melbourne lived to be 85, while Brisbane and Adelaide it was 84 and 84.5 respectively. But in Darwin, the median age of death was just 66, and in the NT outback 56.

In coming weeks the investigation will also expose shocking obesity rates, education outcomes and unfair funding distribution for the regions. To read more click here.

The 2016 Regional Development Conference will be held 5-7 September in Canberra.

To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.

Horticulture region hopeful backpacker tax review will find solution

regional developmentOne of the nation’s largest horticulture production regions is hopeful there will be substantial changes to the backpacker tax after meeting with senior politicians.

The proposed changes for Working Holiday Makers originally planned for a 32.5 per cent tax but a review could see the plan changed.

Delegates from Victoria’s Sunraysia region met with Senator Anne Ruston to raise their ongoing concerns about the tax change and the risk it could dramatically reduce seasonal worker numbers in the area.

Jenny Garonne from the Mildura Development Corporation said, despite the changed tax still needing to raise $540 million for the Federal Government, she believed a workable alternative would be found.

Ms Garonne said alternative tax rates had been proposed by agriculture bodies and tourism businesses to keep regional areas as attractive locations for backpackers.

“There has been a number that have been bandied around over the past two or three months; they’ve included a flat tax of anything from nothing through to 13, 19, 20 per cent,” she said.

“Some contractors are already seeing a drop in the people who would normally come to Australia.

“There’s a real concern for the farmers that they might not be able to have the labour. To listen to the interview click here.

The 2016 Regional Development Conference will be held 5-7 September in Canberra.

To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.

Keynote Speaker Highlight: Su McCluskey, CEO, Regional Australia Institute

The Australian Regional Development Conference will explore the issues and opportunities facing Regional Australia today and into the future. The Conference will be held at the Commercial Club Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015.

The Australian Regional Development Conference is pleased to announce Su McCluskey, Chief Executive Officer, Regional Australia Institute as a Keynote Speaker.

Su McCluskeySu McCluskey is the CEO of the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), the first national independent policy think tank devoted to regional issues. The RAI conducts research into priority policy issues impacting all areas of Australia lying outside capital cities. Su is also a member of the Competition Policy Review Panel.

Su joined the RAI from the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations where she served for three years as CEO. Su is a past Executive Director of the Office of Best Practice Regulation, was a Consultant Specialist Advisor to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources and held senior policy positions with the Business Council of Australia, the National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Taxation Office.

Su has extensive expertise in regional policy development, taxation, regulatory reform and governance. As well as a broad understanding of policy implementation, her personal experience running a beef cattle stud in Yass, NSW gives her grassroots insight into regional and rural issues.

Su was named the winner of the 2013 Australian Financial Review and Westpac Regional Women of Influence Award and the 2014 winner of the Women in Australian Agribusiness outstanding contribution to policy category.