The NSW Government has moved to establish a new Regional Development Advisory Council, announced during the State Budget.
The new body is a critical step to mobilising the new $350 million Regional Development Trust Fund investment program for regional communities. The regulation enabling the establishment of the Advisory Council and its objectives was approved by the State’s Executive Council last Wednesday.
Under the new regulation up to seven interim members will be appointed for an initial period of 12 months so that work can begin as soon as possible to provide the Trust’s independent evaluation process for funding projects.
Members will be recommended to the Minister based on relevant skills and experience in a range of areas such as: regional and rural economics, regional service delivery, climate adaptation and resilience, finance and public administration, and natural resource management.
The Council will always include at least one Aboriginal representative with knowledge and experience in economic development for Aboriginal communities.
Minister for Regional NSW and Western NSW Tara Moriarty said the establishment of the Regional Development Advisory Council is an important step towards the provision of independent and expert advice on what projects and programs should be funded.
“Our intention is to ensure rural, remote and regional communities receive their fair share and money is spent on projects that are actually needed and will be delivered.
“This reform process ensures a transparent allocation of investment across regional NSW as communities face the challenges of workforce attraction, modernising facilities and drought.
“The establishment of the Regional Development Advisory Council ensures that future investment in regional communities is guided by local knowledge and expertise.”
Minister Moriarty has also written to her federal counterpart, Minister Kristy McBain, seeking a nominee from the Commonwealth to foster a coordinated approach to regional investment between New South Wales and the Commonwealth.
The Regional Development Advisory Council will provide a fresh approach for regional grants decision making by providing independent advice to the Minister for Regional NSW to ensure valid projects and rural communities are at the centre of government decision making.
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