CONSULTATIONS on the Coalition government‘s new regional policy development initiative will kick-start on February 15 in southern Tasmania.
An exact has not yet been confirmed but it’s understood a location outside of Hobart is currently under consideration.
The following week, regional stakeholders can submit their thoughts and ideas on ways government can help boost rural economies - or what not to do - at Albany and Gingin in WA.
It’s understood the government’s regional policy roadshow could also hold another public meeting in WA, at Kalgoorlie that same week.
In launching the new regional policy program today in Canberra, Assistant to the Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack said the government’s engagement process would involve grass roots participants in all States and Territories.
He said the federal government was seeking to hear what people wanted from the Coalition’s revamped regional development policy agenda, going into the next federal election.
The process will see a cabinet paper prepared for discussion ahead of any final decisions being made in late July or August, on potential campaign policies.
“That’s the objective and agenda of this initiative,” he said.
Mr McCormack said there was no “big bucket of money” to accompany announcement of the new regional policy development process.
But he stressed the government wanted to improve its rural and regional policies in key areas like agriculture and trade, infrastructure, northern development and digital innovation.
“We’re looking forward to working with ordinary Australians who live in great country areas that we know already punch well above their weight when it comes to producing ideas, goods, output and services, to help our great nation become even greater,” he said.
In touring regional Australia for consultations, the government will work with the 55 Regional Development Australia committees, academic institutions, indigenous communities and grass roots communities.
Mr McCormack said National party and the Liberal party’s regional members were already working on policy initiatives to help improve the lives of regional Australians.
But he said they also wanted to “tap-into” other ministerial agendas like Minister Pyne’s science and innovation program and Barnaby Joyce’s agriculture portfolio work, to “enhance potential, especially in Regional Australia”.
“We’re looking for fresh ideas to enhance the good work that Minister Joyce is doing in agriculture,” he said.
“It taps into all of the things our ministers are working on – it taps into how we want to drive our agenda for innovation.”
In a statement, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the policy program would set out a long-term vision for regional Australia.
“More often than not, the opportunities and solutions identified at the local level to meet local needs are the best,” he said.
“These meetings will be a direct channel for the government to hear first-hand ideas that will harness the potential of regional Australia to build a more prosperous future – from the grassroots up.
“Be it producing the highest quality agricultural products in the world, capitalising on our rich natural resources or opening up more innovative small businesses, regional Australia needs to be at the forefront of our nation’s prosperity.”