Regional Development Australia Committee Appointments—Information Booklet
This booklet provides information for members of the community who are considering joining a Regional Development Australia (RDA) Committee.
- Part A—Regional Development Australia
- Part B—Regional Development Australia Committee Members
- How are Committee members appointed?
- Role of RDA Committee Chairs and Deputy Chairs
- Role of RDA Committee members
- Financial and other resource support
- Who can apply for Committee membership?
- Information to support your application
- How are applications considered?
- Committee member obligations
Part A—Regional Development Australia
Regional Development Australia (RDA) is an Australian Government initiative that plays an important role in supporting the economic development of all regions through RDA Committees. RDA Committees (sometimes referred to as RDA Boards) provide a vital link between the regions and all levels of government. RDA Committees are made up of local leaders creating solutions to enhance the economic development of Australia's regions. They are funded by the Australian Government and by state, territory and local governments in some jurisdictions and are supported by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
What are Regional Development Australia Committees?
RDA Committees are focused on building the economic capability of their region. Improving productivity and promoting activities and investments that unlock economic growth in regional areas are priorities of the Australian Government.
RDA Committees provide a critical link for local community stakeholders and the three levels of government. RDA Committees will be funded to:
- maintain a 3–5 year regional plan that focuses on economic development of the region and takes account of Australian, state/territory and local government plans;
- advise on the priority activities that will drive regional economic development and take advantage of comparative advantages, based on consultation and engagement with community leaders;
- assist local community stakeholders to develop project proposals and help shepherd them to appropriate public and/or private funding sources including the National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF);
- provide advice to the Australian Government on critical issues affecting each region; and
- enhance awareness of Australian Government programmes.
A list of Committees in each state and territory, including a map of Committee regions across Australia, can be found at www.rda.gov.au. Regional Plans/Roadmaps can be found on all RDA Committee websites.
RDA Committee Chairs, Deputy Chairs and members volunteer their time and energy, and have a personal commitment to working in partnership with government for the benefit of their local and regional communities.
It is expected that each RDA Committee will have at least two members with local government experience.
RDA Committees are Incorporated Associations
RDA Committees are non-profit, community-based incorporated associations1. The following information from the ASIC website (along with your constitution/rules) may be of assistance if potential members are seeking to understand the governance arrangements of the organisation.
Associations are incorporated under state and territory Associations Incorporation legislation, which is administered by the various state and territory authorities. An incorporated association is also a legal entity separate from its individual members and can hold property, sue and be sued2. Incorporating an association in a state or territory restricts the organisation to operating in its home jurisdiction. For example, an association incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 of New South Wales may only carry on business in New South Wales. The Associations Incorporation legislation in each state and territory provides a simple and more affordable means of creating a separate legal entity for small, community-based groups with limited resources. This legislation imposes less onerous conditions than the Corporations Act governing the activities of companies.
Legislation differs in each state or territory, however an incorporated association may be required to:
- have a Committee responsible for managing the association;
- have a public officer and notify any changes in that position;
- have a registered office in its state of incorporation;
- act in accordance with its objects and rules;
- hold an annual general meeting once every calendar year;
- lodge an annual statement every year;
- keep proper accounting records and, in some states, prepare, have audited and lodge financial statements;
- keep minutes of all Committee and general meetings;
- keep registers of members and all Committee members; and
- have a common seal.
For more information about governance obligations, visit the website of the relevant state or territory authority. See ASIC website for list of contacts.
Part B—Regional Development Australia Committee Members
How are Committee members appointed?
- Appointments of Chairs and Deputy Chairs to committees are made by:
- The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development;
- jointly with the state and territory government minister responsible for regional development where they contribute significant financial and/or in kind support; and
- the local government association in some jurisdictions.
- Appointments of Committee members are made by Chairs and Deputy Chairs.
- Chairs and Deputy Chairs consult with the Australian Government minister, state and territory government ministers and the local government association where joint appointments are made.
Terms of appointments vary and can be up to three years.
Role of RDA Committee Chairs and Deputy Chairs
Committee Chairs and Deputy Chairs are leading members of the community, committed to the achievement of regional priorities and the economic development of their region. They:
- are knowledgeable about the economic, social, cultural and environmental opportunities and challenges facing their region;
- provide strong leadership to promote the work of the Committee and are strong advocates for their region;
- build networks within the community, business, industry, education and all levels of government to facilitate wide consultation, develop solutions and provide input to government;
- bring together and present community views and interests in economic development; and
- are skilled in financial management and organisational governance.
The key roles for the Chair are to provide strategic direction and leadership to the Committee and develop and maintain adherence to sound governance arrangements. Chairs oversee financial management, direct work, and monitor progress in implementing the regional priorities.
The Deputy Chair plays an important role in supporting the Chair and assumes the role and duties of the Chair when the Chair is not available.
Role of RDA Committee members
RDA Committees work to identify economic growth opportunities, foster partnerships and help regional stakeholders to progress infrastructure and other investment that will drive regional growth in national and international markets.
The Committees play an important role helping implement the Australian Government's National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF) which opened on 1 October 2014 and will invest $1 billion over five years to promote economic development in Australia's regions, by:
- assisting applicants to identify infrastructure projects which contribute to long term economic growth and have been identified as priorities;
- bringing key eligible parties together including those who may provide a financial contribution to the project, to develop an application for an infrastructure project; and/or
- working with applicants to prepare eligible applications, supporting documents and evidence, which will support their claims against the assessment criteria.
Committee members support the Chair and Deputy Chair by respecting the confidentiality of Committee discussions, debates and decision making processes and by valuing the contributions and views of fellow Committee members.
Committee members are expected to adopt a whole of region perspective in their activities with and on-behalf of their committee. They will also have a keen awareness of good governance principles and the legislative framework in which they work e.g. the RDA Constitution and the RDA Funding Agreement which outline the legal, financial and employer obligations.
Financial and other resource support
Financial and other resource support is provided to RDA Committees by the Australian Government, and some state governments, to employ support staff and to carry out the administrative functions of committees. Individual funding arrangements vary in each state and territory.
Who can apply for Committee membership?
Chairs and Deputy Chairs will invite expressions of interest from people with the skills and experience to contribute to the development and growth of regional Australia.
Committee members are drawn from a cross-section of the local community and are required to be of good character and reflect accepted standards of community behaviour. They are expected to be available and committed to participate in all Committee meetings and RDA activities.
Women; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; people with diverse cultural backgrounds; people with disabilities and people from across every age group are strongly encouraged to apply.
If you are interested in being part of an RDA committee:
- talk to the RDA Committee's Chair or Executive Officer and find out about the priorities for the region, how they are working to find solutions, the commitment required of Committee members and how you could contribute your skills and experience;
- look at the RDAs Regional Plan/Roadmap on the RDA website to see where your skills and experience match the priorities of the region;
- talk to other RDA Committee members (see your RDA website) about what to expect should you be appointed to the committee; and
- indicate to the RDA Committee Chair that you are interested in being considered for Committee membership and the skills you consider you would bring to the position.
Information to support your application
You may be required to provide a statement about the contribution you will make to the RDA Committee for which you are applying. Information relating to your employment and qualifications, your skills and experience and your involvement in voluntary and community activities can be included. You will be able to refer to the RDA Committee's Regional Plan/Roadmap and provide information about how your skills and experience match those required by the Committee, and can contribute to economic growth.
Applicants must agree to a probity check through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and other relevant checks before their appointment is confirmed. You may be asked to consent to the seeking of further information relating to your good character.
Should you become a member of an RDA Committee, you will also be asked to consent to:
- publishing your name on the Department and RDA Committee's website; and
- publishing your name in promotional documents including brochures produced by the RDA Committee, the Department or State and Territory government agencies responsible for regional development in the context of your role on the RDA Committee.
It is the usual practice to disclose personal information collected to relevant Australian state and territory government departments and in some cases the relevant local government association, as well as RDA Chairs, Deputy Chairs, and Executive Officers. The information will only be used for the purposes of considering expressions of interest.
How are applications considered?
Consideration is given to the makeup of the Committee by taking into account the demographic profile of the region and selection of members will pay due regard to gender balance, indigenous and cultural diversity, age and geographical coverage.
At least two members should have local government experience, managerial or elected, and be able to bring a local government perspective from across the region.
Referees may be requested to verify an applicant's good character and standing in the community.
Selection criteria for Chairs:
The Chair is expected to provide leadership to the RDA committee in:
- identifying and supporting opportunities for innovation and investment in the region, particularly opportunities which result in economic development;
- identifying opportunities to leverage existing government programs and funding, which both capitalise on regional and competitive strengths and meet regional needs;
- working in partnership with the all levels of government and have a strong understanding of federal, state and local government policies and initiatives, and the ways in which local communities can engage with them.
The Deputy Chair plays an important role in supporting the Chair and assumes the role and duties of the Chair when the Chair is not available.
Selection criteria for Committee members:
- management ability as well as specific skills and experience to progress the RDA Committee's priorities outlined in the Regional Plan/Roadmap;
- personal commitment to working in partnership with all levels of government, regional development bodies, community and not-for-profit organisations and the private sector for the economic benefit of the region;
- ability to engage with local communities to take advantage of economic development opportunities and provide assistance to communities to shepherd priority project proposals to appropriate potential funding sources;
- a strong understanding of the region's strengths and challenges and of the key issues facing local communities;
- effective communication and interpersonal skills which enable them to create linkages within the community and to adopt a whole of region perspective in their activities with and on-behalf of their Committee; and
- a keen awareness of good governance principles and the legislative framework in which they work e.g. the RDA Constitution/rules and the RDA Funding Agreement which outline the legal, financial and employer obligations.
Committee member obligations
Standards of conduct
Committee members are expected to have high standards of conduct and ethics in applying principles and practices of corporate governance. Appointees to committees will be required to comply with the funding agreement between the Department and the RDA Committee and supporting governance material, including the RDA Code of Conduct and Ethics, available from the RDA website. Failure to do so may result in removal from the Committee.
Committee members should reside within the region they represent. If you are not a resident in the region you are applying for, you must be able to demonstrate strong links to the region and your commitment to working within that region (including being prepared to travel to Committee meetings and relevant events).
Members may be required to travel substantial distances to attend meetings, and in large RDA regions, this may involve time away from home. Please refer to the RDA website for maps of each RDA region.
RDA Committee members are required to make a commitment to regularly attend all meetings either in person or via teleconference and to support other members of the committee. Members are required to attend meetings as stated in the constitution of their RDA Committee.
If a member is unable to attend meetings they are required to request leave from the Chair. Poor or irregular meeting attendance, without approved leave or a suitable reason, may result in removal from the Committee.
The Department will acknowledge all complaints relating to the expression of interest process or its associated administrative functions. Complaints can be made in writing to:
The General Manager
Local Government, ACT and RDA Australia Branch
Local Government and Territories Division
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
GPO Box 594
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Complaints may also be made to the relevant State government administrative agencies; contact details can be found at www.rda.gov.au.
For further information on applying for any Committee position, please contact the RDA office in your region.
The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development also operates an EOI Helpline. Phone 1800 505 938 (Mon–Fri 9am–5pm AEDST) or email email@example.com
- With the exception of Victoria, where RDAs are unincorporated advisory bodies
- The Department provides three types of insurance coverage for RDA Committees – Broadform Liability, Management Liability and Voluntary Workers/Personal Accident (further details are contained in your Funding Agreement and the Better Practice Guide Section 4.5).