Government response to regional development report a wasted opportunity
Federal member for Indi Ms Cathy McGowan said today she was underwhelmed by the Federal Government’s response to the Regions at the Ready report prepared by a House of Representatives Select Committee she was a member of.
Ms McGowan said the Regions at the Ready report provided a vision for the sustainable growth and development of regional Australia.
“The Government’s response is to create an expert panel to report on the report – to undertake ‘a targeted assessment of the key issues raised’, and report back by the end of March,” she said.
“After a year of analysis, 14 public hearings and almost 200 written submissions, the bipartisan report recommends the Government develops a comprehensive Regional Australia White Paper, to provide a clear vision for regional Australia,” Mc McGowan said.
“The Regions at the Ready report is a far-reaching and practical work program for regional development that would benefit the whole nation. It outlines a co-ordinated approach to the design and delivery of regional policy initiatives, bringing all the departmental pieces of the jigsaw together to communicate and work more effectively with each other,” she said.
“It is not just about moving public sector staff to the regions, it is about co-ordinating the delivery of jobs, housing, roads and physical infrastructure to support a planned approach to growing the regions.”
Ms McGowan asked two questions of the Government during Question Time this week in relation to their long-awaited response to the report.
“This was a golden opportunity for the Government to deliver on a visionary plan for the growth and development of regional Australia and they have been found wanting. There is no commitment to put money in this year’s budget, no commitment to develop a policy framework. It’s too little too late.”
The Government tabled the June 2018 report by the Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation in Federal Parliament on Wednesday.
“The response, eight months after the report was delivered, confirms what we already knew, that the Government’s approach to regional Australia is unco-ordinated. Strategy and planning are an afterthought.”