Local, Independant and Effective
June 01, 2017

National inquiry into decentralisation a huge win for regional Australia

Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan has congratulated the government for taking up the call to establish a national inquiry into regional development and decentralisation.

Ms McGowan, who called for an inquiry with a Notice of Motion in Parliament on 22 May, thanked the government for taking on board the need to “do decentralisation properly”.

“As an independent voice from regional Australia I have appreciated the opportunity to put the case fearlessly and deliver effective action. I am grateful the government has listened,” Ms McGowan said.

The government has agreed to establish an inquiry to investigate and report on best practice approaches to regional development, examine decentralisation of Commonwealth entities as a mechanism to increase growth and prosperity in regional areas, and look at ways to encourage greater corporate decentralisation.

“I welcome the Prime Minister’s agreement that issues around decentralisation need to be examined properly. As an independent voice from the country, I’m looking forward to serving on the inquiry committee, and working with the government to develop best practice to ensure regional Australia reaches its full potential,” Ms McGowan said.

“Decentralisation has incredible potential to deliver growth and prosperity in the regions if done properly. This is a huge win for regional policy and an opportunity to develop a plan towards more cohesive, vibrant, inclusive regions.

“What we want to see at the end of this is a process that embeds regional Australia into policy making and recognises the regions’ individual strengths and circumstances.”

Ms McGowan said she hoped to bring the wisdom of Indi’s model of community engagement to the process.

“Listening to the broad range of expertise in regional communities, and giving them a voice in decision making is the best way – the Indi way,” Ms McGowan said.

“Through this process the people of Indi have been consistently able to put the case about the factors on which successful decentralisation will rely: an effective NBN rollout, mobile phone coverage, transport connectivity, strategic regional development and infrastructure investment, and inclusive education and employment policy.” 

Ms McGowan welcomed the appointment of Member for Groom Dr John McVeigh as chair of the committee, and said she appreciated the opportunity to lend her own expertise to the committee.

“As a rural representative with a strong farming roots and experience in economics, agribusiness, and community development, I hope to make a worthwhile contribution across the broad remit of the inquiry,” Ms McGowan said.

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