5.7 REGIONAL GOVERNANCE
RDA committees in 21 regions raised the issue of regional governance, leadership or community involvement. The need for a coordinated approach to policy, planning and investment across all levels of government was the most common governance issue. A lack of integration of regional plans and strategies and the need for an overarching authority to coordinate the three levels of government were also identified as issues in many regions. For example, a “coordinated approach to the development of sporting and recreation infrastructure and programs” was recognised as important by Great Southern RDA, to align local and state government recreation planning (Great Southern RDA, 2011, pp. 39-40).
A lack of community consultation was also raised. RDA committees in some regions reported limited opportunities for community input into regional planning and a lack of rural representation at both the state and federal level. Several RDA committees identified that this was leading to a feeling of community disconnection, a lack of local leadership and a lack of understanding about the region among state and federal government agencies.
Other governance issues raised included a lack of support for local organisations, a heavy reliance on volunteers to provide essential services and a large number of local leaders nearing retirement age.