RDA NR Deputy Chair Dr Susan Vinnicombe and Director of Regional Development Tim Williamson left the sunny climes of Northern Rivers to attend the RDA National Forum in Canberra June 15-17, 2021. Assistant Minister, Nola Marino hosted the event in conjunction with the Department of Infrastructure which offers the only chance to network with other RDA leaders at the national level. Thankfully, this year’s event happened prior to the recent spate of lockdowns as the 2020 event was cancelled due to this reason.
This year, a packed agenda was on offer with key topics broken into multiple streams of presentations. To make the most of the main conference sessions, Susan and Tim split up and attended six different sessions between them. These sessions were foreshadowed by a keynote presentation from the Assistant Minister who stressed the valuable and important part RDAs play in providing on the ground information in a timely manner back to the Australian Government and departmental policymakers during major events such as COVID-19 and natural disasters. A “Trade Hall” exhibiting the services of a diverse range of relevant Agencies was also on-hand throughout the event giving direct access to these policy and service providers.
The highlight for our own RDA was learning from, and sharing with, other RDAs and learning how best practice projects are being implemented right across the country. It is an important opportunity to advocate for our own region and to introduce MPs and others to the range of regional priority projects which demonstrates how vital it is to effectively resource the RDA network. While some projects in other states, particularly WA, were on a grand scale, there were still opportunities to learn about the collaborative approach they took towards implementation. It is an important opportunity to advocate for our own region and to introduce MPs and others to the range of regional priority projects which demonstrates how vital it is to effectively resource the RDA network.
During the conference, Susan and Tim took the opportunity to meet with local MP Kevin Hogan in his natural Canberra habitat at Parliament House. The two Northern Rivers representatives also promoted the region at networking events which were attended by many MPs and departmental representatives at the RDA National Forum.