FINANCE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION LEGISLATION COMMITTEE
TUESDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 2011
Senator LUDLAM-It did help to clarify. With your regional development hat on, then, we had a really good session this morning with Major Cities Unit and spoke about resilience and planning for high oil prices and transport and so on in an urban context. Is anybody in your area doing any thinking about those issues from a regional perspective where the issues are quite different?
Ms Beauchamp-We work with Regional Development Australia committees and local governments and state and territory governments looking at a number of regional policy issues. At the moment we have been working with Regional Development Australia committees around what they have been developing up in terms of their strategic plans and roadmaps and looking at the regional impacts of what they see as their key priorities. So, of course, those things would come up in the normal course of conversations and processes we have with the regional areas.
Senator LUDLAM-Peak oil, oil depletion, $200 a barrel oil comes up in normal conversations?
Ms Beauchamp-What we look at are what local areas, particularly regions, are going through that might be impacted by a range of issues, so they-
Senator LUDLAM-Can we stick to this issue, to this one in particular: transport vulnerability in regional areas where right across the board we are extremely dependent on cheap oil? There is at long last some thinking going on now about what that means in an urban context in Australian cities. Is there any thinking or anything that you can show us or anything you can table or the number of FTEs or anything at all around that kind of thinking in a regional context?
Mr Hanney-The Regional Development Australia groups-committees-all have regional plans. Some of them have certainly drilled into that space and so what we can do is lead you to some of those regional plans where for some regions it is more important, it is higher on their agenda, in terms of increasing transport costs you outlined, so we can lead you to some of those plans. Most of them are on the website so we can-
Senator LUDLAM-Is it fair to say, it sounds like very much a bottom-up process? You folk are not leading or coordinating; you are maybe networking if stuff is coming up from the LGAs themselves, but there is no thinking at a departmental level on integrating any of these regional plans?
Ms Beauchamp-What I mentioned in the opening statement was making sure that we linked in with other agencies who might have the lead on this and provide a regional perspective. We do work from the bottom up in terms of empowering local communities, ensuring that they have got the skills and capacity to be involved in policy and program development across the Commonwealth and, indeed, the states. From a policy point of view we will be involved across government on a range of policies that will impact on regions, so whilst not taking the lead, we will still try and bring as much information as we have from local government areas and regions to those policy issues.
Senator LUDLAM-I will leave it there, thank you.