1381.0 - Research Paper: A Review of Regional Development Australia Committee Regional Plans, 2013  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/03/2013  First Issue
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Almost all RDA committees (47) discussed the funding or logistical difficulties of providing appropriate and timely infrastructure and services. RDA committees in many regions reported that it was difficult to develop and maintain infrastructure with a population dispersed across a large land area. Low population density meant a limited revenue base for local councils which affected their ability to fund maintenance or sustain the delivery of services. RDA committees in several regions commented that service provision was not evenly distributed across the region, with infrastructure development often focussed in few regional centres rather than in smaller regional communities. For many regions, these issues led to the closure of many services and an overall poor standard of infrastructure in remote communities.

A lack of infrastructure spending and investment was a frequently identified issue. RDA committees in some regions reported that spending did not match the rate of population growth and was subject to political term funding cycles. Poor infrastructure planning was another common issue. This included the need for a more coordinated approach to infrastructure development, the need to integrate transport and land use planning, a lack of defined timelines for new projects and inconsistent planning approval processes. Other issues that impeded infrastructure development and service delivery included environmental protection legislation, regulatory inconsistency across regional boundaries and limited access to some remote areas during the wet season.