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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1804

Ms McGOWAN (Indi) (09:42): It is my belief that the key to rural and regional Australia having a strong, long-term sustainable and happy future lies in a coordinated approach to regional development. We need a clear vision for our future, and we need mechanisms for coordination, planning and advocacy. Last Friday I had the pleasure of meeting with the Hume Regional Development Australia committee, RDA Hume, and learning of the excellent work they are undertaking to bring such a future to the people of Indi.

Regional Development Australia is an initiative of the Commonwealth government. It brings together all levels of government to support the development of regional Australia. It is based on a national network of 55 RDA committees made up of local leaders who work in a voluntary capacity with all levels of government, business and community groups. In Victoria, RDAs are a joint initiative of the Commonwealth and the Victorian government department of regional development.

I am proud to report to this House that RDA Hume has a strong history of success in advocating for our region's interests; encouraging greater connection between all levels of government, community, business and industry; supporting implementation of regional priorities; and facilitating advancement of growth and development opportunities. In a practical way, RDA Hume is helping the community adapt to a future with less water; planning for a low-carbon energy future; revitalising our regional cities, centres, towns and villages; developing our tourism facilities; building strong manufacturing and agricultural sectors supported by a capable workforce; positioning the Hume region in the global food economy; linking communities through building transport capacity and capability; and taking collective action and developing strategies for our digital future and building digital readiness across the region. I would like to draw to the attention of this Chamber five important reports that have been authorised by RDA. Freight directions in the Hume region, Digital Hume: a digital strategy for a smart region; Hume Regional Tracks and Trails Strategy; Food opportunities in Northern Victoria;and, importantly, Aspirations and destinations of young people: a study of four towns and their communities and schools in central Hume, Victoria.

RDAs do really important work. They have proven to be the pivotal point in planning regional development. In Indi and the Hume region they are playing a vital role in coordinating regional planning. They need our continued support and resources.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge and thank the Hume RDA for their outstanding work.