Improved Regional Development Governance
Across the New England and surrounding regions there are an enormous number of natural resource and land use/ economic and social development issues to be tackled. Conflict around water and mining is illustrative but not exhaustive of the problems. There are a number of government and other organisations involved, and many non-government bodies. To ensure the best solution to the challenges requires excellent data, analysis and decision support.
Dr Lou Conway, a member of UNE’s School of Business, Economics and Public Policy, is the lead researcher on this project which aims to address the need for improved regional development governance.
This project is a prime example of UNE as a rural and regional organisation directly working with its community to assist equitable and sustainable management of the communities’ resources and creating stronger links between UNE and the region.
Consultation with NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, NSW State Ministers and senior officials took place in September 2009. These consultations highlighted the desirability of a regional coordinating hub for research touching on these matters, and seed-funding for prioritised research. With this in mind UNE has coordinated two meetings to advance a coordinated research agenda.
The first was a meeting of key researchers on the 21st of October at UNE. The second was on the 22nd of October, with senior agency personnel from the region (including regional local government, catchment management authority and water agency personnel). During these two meetings UNE put forward the principles for a coordinated approach to research and information provision about these issues.
Key researchers in regional development governance include; staff from UNE’s Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law, Institute of Rural Futures, School of Business, Economics and Public Policy, and also staff from Namoi Regional Organisation of Councils and NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet – New England/North West.