Regional training program goes nationalAt a time when there is significant focus on regional Australia, Economic Development Australia’s Regional & Remote Area Training Program (RRATP) provides valuable insight into planning and practicing sustainable economic development.
Economic Development Australia has successfully delivered a series of trial RRATPs in Western Australia, leading to the implementation of the program on a national level, funded through the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport.
Targeting local government elected members and staff, State and Commonwealth Regional Economic Development officers, Regional Development Australia staff and committee members, and industry/business and community development organisations, the aim of the program is to broaden the understanding of the role that economic development practitioners undertake, to provide information on how economic development is undertaken and provide a framework to undertake future economic development activities.
Delivered pro bono by some of the more than 400 EDA members, the program consists of the presentation of case studies, an economic development toolbox and facilitation of a debriefing/summary workshop, usually taking a couple of days.
Those communities taking part in the WA trial are enthusiastic about the program’s benefits, highlighting the flexibility of the workshops, which are tailored to address local issues and to suit specific participants.
Chief Executive Officer at the Shire of Wagin, Len Calneggia, summed up the benefits of the program for his local government area: “They were three good days and my aim is to keep the momentum going on Economic Development. The weekend not only reaffirmed but also opened my mind to how important this ED function is, especially for small local governments such as ours.”
In terms of encouraging growth in remote and regional areas, industry also benefits from an informed community. Rebekah Burgess, Executive Officer of RDA Wheatbelt WA says, “Primary production is the principal economic base for the Wheatbelt and is also the basis for most other economic activity in the region. To ensure that our region is sustainable in the long term it is imperative that we plan for and actively drive growth in new and diverse industries outside of agriculture.
“The RRATP provides the momentum for economic development planning to occur. So far, we have had six successful workshops held in various locations across the Wheatbelt and I have seen firsthand the huge benefit to the communities that have participated.”
The EDA originally set up the program with the recognition that regional and remote areas of Australia, including remote Indigenous communities, are currently missing some of the expertise available and needed in the area of economic development. In offering the RRATP on a national scale, the EDA aims to deliver a positive impact for regional and remote motivated communities right across Australia.
Carolyn Webster, Manager Community and Regulatory Services at the Shire of Wagin, draws attention to exactly how the program can enhance a sense of purpose in a community: “The RRATP was a very exciting step forward for all of us. The continuous chain of relevant examples, advice and creativity were dimensions we all learned from and hopefully we will maintain an ongoing contact with EDA and other members of the group.
“The energy that our community members and councillors demonstrated really gives us the momentum to facilitate the beginnings of Economic Development for this town.”
For more information on Regional & Remote Area Training Programs contact National Coordinator, Adam Saddler on 0448 813 800 or email@example.com.