Regional Development Strategy

Regional Development Strategy

I rise to speak about the Marshall Liberal government’s recently released Regional Development Strategy. In continuing to deliver on our commitments, the government has released the strategy to enable deeper collaboration and cooperation between itself, industry and regional communities to maximise the benefits of decision-making.

Alignment of multiple factors, sourced from local knowledge of key stakeholders in these communities, allows for effective decision-making processes to deliver the best result for our regions. Regions are the backbone of our state and their diverse and rich environment helps define its character. They are the economic powerhouse that drives our prosperity, contributing around $29 billion yearly to the state’s economy.

The Regional Development Strategy marks the first time that a South Australian government has developed a comprehensive plan to work with communities in the country. It is us saying that the one-size-fits-all approach does not work for regional areas as diverse and as distinct as the Limestone Coast; my home, the Riverland; the Barossa; and Eyre, Yorke and Fleurieu Peninsulas.

As the consultation and discussion process for the strategy was underway, we faced significant challenges: drought, bushfires and the pandemic. However, these challenges provided an opportunity to adapt and change for the better. As businesses faced the new norm of working from home and people returned to our state, digital connectivity mattered more than ever, but it did not just show how vital it was for our regions to be sufficiently supported by digital infrastructure, it showed the rest of the South Australian community, and Australia broadly, the flexibility on offer in working arrangements.

This is a chance to bring people back to the country. A mode of working previously inhibited by market conditions can now be a boon for those outside the metropolitan area. The hard-won safety of this state compared to the rest of the world is also a chance for all Australians to explore what we have to offer here at home. There is also a very real possibility that the pandemic could see a return to manufacturing in this state, as stresses to supply lines show the importance of domestic manufacturing. Now is the perfect opportunity for renewal and growth, and the Regional Development Strategy will capitalise on this to deliver the best for all of our communities.

The Regional Development Strategy provides direction and focus for industry and community leaders alike. It is an approach which will strengthen our economic recovery and go towards reaching the government’s goal of 3 per cent growth yearly for our state’s economy. With effective communication between stakeholders and government, decision-making will be guided by the following priorities:

Regional voice—in engaging regional stakeholders, businesses and communities, we are facilitating the sharing of values and local solutions when implementing development and growth in South Australia. The government wants those in the regions to seek clear opportunities to shape the future of their community.

Regional connectivity—engagement of transport network and telecommunication solutions, with local knowledge in development and design, assuring such deliveries meet the needs of our diverse regional communities.

Regional leadership and skills—we need to ensure our emerging regional leaders have the opportunity for personal and professional development, which is necessary to effectively serve their communities.

Regional services—we are ensuring the safety and livability of communities in our country by filling in service gaps and establishing solutions for those services which are critical as such.

Regional investment—outside and inside investment, which continues to increase trade, productivity and exports, which our state is renowned for.

We have achievements to date in these areas. We have actively engaged our Indigenous nations in projects and policy. The Department for Education’s 10-year Aboriginal Education Strategy will continue to support our students to ensure they thrive throughout their learning.

We continue to work with industry and regions in the implementation of the Mobile Phone Black Spot Program, along with the 20-year Infrastructure SA strategy, which was developed with a clear regional focus. Regional connectivity has always been on the agenda with the facilitation of GigCity development at Whyalla and Mount Gambier. Improved telecommunications and digital connectivity in regional South Australian communities will deliver the economic and social benefits needed to take advantage of a post-COVID future.

The Marshall Liberal government wants to grow our state, and our regions are key. In reaching that goal, we are involving regional communities in a meaningful way so that in the growth of our state the benefits to these areas are maximised. That is what the Regional Development Strategy is to achieve.


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