New Direction for RDAs

Following careful consideration of the findings and recommendations contained in the 2016 independent review of the Regional Development Australia program, the Minister for Regional Development, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, has announced a number of reforms to the program. These reforms will be implemented over the coming months.

RDA Committees will move forward under a new Charter which focusses on growing strong and confident regional economies that harness their competitive advantages and drive economic growth.

Reform Measures

On 18 August 2017, Minister Nash’s announced the RDA reforms.

The key RDA Program reforms are:

  • RDA Committees will operate under a new charter that focusses their work on facilitating economic development by creating local jobs, attracting investment and driving innovation;
  • The four Melbourne RDA Committees will be consolidated into one, consistent with other capital city RDA Committees. The existing boundaries of all other RDA Committees are expected to be maintained;
  • Geographic coverage of the RDA network will be expanded to the external territories of Christmas, Cocos (Keeling) and Norfolk Islands and Jervis Bay Territory;
  • A more rigorous merit-based RDA Chair, Deputy Chair and Committee member appointment process will be implemented; and
  • New performance measures will be established to ensure that the outcomes of RDA Committee activities are properly monitored and measured.


A new role of Director of Regional Development will be created for each RDA Committee, with direct responsibility for delivering the objectives and outcomes required under the RDA charter. The role will be a dedicated position, budgeted for from existing funding provided by the Australian Government.

RDA Independent Review

In September 2016, Minister Nash commissioned an independent review of the RDA program. This followed a 2014 commitment to review the program by the former Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Warren Truss MP.

The Hon Warwick L Smith AM was the appointed Independent Reviewer, and he delivered his final report to Minister Nash in December 2016.

The review researched, considered and reported on three themes:

  • The RDA program framework;
  • The governance and administration of the RDA program; and
  • Alignment with Australian Government policy objectives now and into the future.


Mr Smith’s Review found that although the Australian Government should continue to play a role in regional development, a new approach was required to enable the Government to heighten its focus on initiatives that grow local economies, promote opportunities, attract investment and build capacity and confidence.

For a copy of the Final Review, please click HERE

For a copy of the Australian Government’s response to the review, please click HERE

Frequently Asked Questions

Click HERE for a list of FAQs