Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees, which are tasked with helping grow regional communities, have been abandoned for more than 12 months by the Andrews Labor Government, says Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh.
Media reports last week confirmed Regional Development Minister Jaclyn Symes has left Victoria’s RDA committees with just one member, the Chair, since October last year.
RDAs push forward local priority projects aimed at driving economic growth and community development in regional areas. RDAs also liaise with the three tiers of government on critical issues affecting their regions.
Victoria has six RDA Committees – Barwon South West, Gippsland, Grampians, Hume, Loddon Mallee and Melbourne.
RDAs are jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian governments.
Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Regional Victoria and Decentralisation Peter Walsh
“Stakeholders in regional Victoria are tearing their hair out at the lack of investment and strategy from the Andrews Labor Government when it comes to regional development.
“Victoria’s population continues to boom, but a vast majority of that growth and investment continues to pour into Melbourne because the Andrews Government still doesn’t have a plan to develop all of Victoria.
“Leaving country communities without the strategic direction of RDA committees for 12 months is yet more evidence of the Andrews Government’s neglect of the regions.
“The RDA Chairs are no doubt doing their best but these committees simply can’t function as intended for their communities while there is only one person doing the work.
“In my discussions with stakeholders, I understand the Federal Government agreed to nominated Deputy Chairs and Committee Members sometime last year but the Victorian Government has been dithering for nearly 12 months now.
“Minister Symes claims it’s “business as usual” but the Budget papers confirm a very different story including a massive $130 million cut to Regional Development Victoria and that the regional grants and development funds have all run dry.”
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