RDA Wheatbelt demonstrates place-based regional collaboration with 42 shires
Having recently presented at both the Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) and the Australian Regional Development Conference (ARDC), RDA Wheatbelt Director of Regional Development, Mandy Walker, is well versed in working with her local 42 shires to deliver a multi-million dollar project to the Wheatbelt region.
Funded under the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development’s Roads of Strategic Importance Initiative, the Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network was successful in receiving $70 million towards upgrading the freight road network. Encompassing 4,400 kilometres of freight road that connect state and national highways to provide access for heavy vehicles into the region, RDA Wheatbelt’s role in linking local, state and federal government programs was vital.
"A lot of programs on a federal level look to RDAs as their intelligence gathering bodies” Mandy said.
"For us, in the Wheatbelt with 42 local governments, it is really important for us to connect and understand the diversity of issues across the region.”
"We connect with our local governments to understand what their opportunities are, what their project ideas are, what their challenges are and their development aspirations around community and industry.”
“We then get an idea of what local governments are trying to achieve and connect them to others that are trying to do a similar thing. It's a great demonstration of the power that comes from working together.”
"We're a partner for local governments, an advocate for issues region-wide and a funding pathway."
Mandy said she wanted to see the success of the Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network working group model extended to other projects and industries. "The opportunities in the Wheatbelt, whether it be tourism or aged and disability service delivery, all require a regional place based approach which this model delivers beautifully" she said.