Archive for May, 2007

Crean puts Australian RDAs in spotlight

May 15, 2007

Shadow Minister for regional development, Simon Crean, gave a thought-provoking interview on ABC radio interview on 31 May. Leaving the political bluster aside, he promises some devolution of influence should Labor win power in November. This is the prescription we have been advocating for the past 3-4 years. Excerpt follows:

 “I am a great supporter of the Area Consultative Committee’s structure, I established it. In fact, there are many people still serving on ACCs that I appointed. I never asked them what their politics were. I simply wanted to know that they were champions for their community that they could build a team that would represent and understand community issues and have access to Federal Government initiatives. I believe in the program. I believe that regions do need to have support for the ACC to do good work, but the initiative and drive and final conclusion has to be with the ACC. I want to give the ACCs a wider mandate. I want to rename them, Regional Development Australia so that we are actually drawing on their expertise for a whole range of initiatives where Commonwealth funding is undertaken. That’s genuine empowerment. That’s giving voice to localism.  …But we’ve got to give them access to the spending in the mainstream portfolios. We’ve got to say to them you can have input into what your needs are, whether it be associated with economic infrastructure, with the broadband rollout, with the social infrastructure. I want them to have a real voice and I want us to drive a dynamic in this country where decisions are being made from the base up, the ground up, not tops down here down in Canberra.