Presentation on theme: "How to Put the Power Back – a Decentralised Model"— Presentation transcript:
1 How to Put the Power Back – a Decentralised Model Associate Professor Paul CollitsResearch DirectorEconomic Development and Enterprise Collaboration, USQ
2 The JokeNo need for a joke to start the presentation as regional policy in Australia is itself the joke.
3 Some Takes on the Regional World “In today’s world, we find that it is increasingly regions that compete – not countries” (McKinsey)“Today we live our lives regionally” (Bruce Katz, Brookings)“It is a tricky business to define a region” (Dore and Woodhill)Regions are simply “generalisations of the human mind” (Walter Isard)A region is a process... Not a thing” (Cooke and Morgan)
4 Some Takes...“A region, someone has wryly observed, is an area safely larger than the last one to whose problems we found no solution” (Jane Jacobs)Regionalism is “part of an insidious agenda to end the nation state”, “wasteful, offensive and ultimately sinister” (A British Observer)“Is localism the new regionalism?” (Ward and Hardy)Regionalism is the new black in the USA (see Drabenstott)Declaration: I remain a new regionalism sceptic
5 Three Types of Regional Governance There are three things happening with regional governanceThe regional coordination of central government policiesRegional developmentRegional planningAll have limitations - involve many layers of interventions and activity, multiple and complex processes, often uncoordinated and under-resourced governance and poor evaluation of interventionsThere is a regional governance deficitToo little OR too much regional governance?
6 The Barriers to Regionalism The familiar refrains in Australia – centralism; no regional government; not in the Constitution; no statutory basis to regional organisations; no local taxing powers – hence no mandateOther problems – regional Australia is obsessed with, well, regional Australia, not with regionsRegional collaboration remains an unnatural act between non-consenting adultsFragile, possibly false, consensus over regional scaleRegions are largely top down constructs in AustraliaFragmented, messy arrangementsSilos matter – few incentives to own joint projectsSo... Putting the power back is not simple and centralisation is not the only problem
7 Overcoming the Barriers – Broad Scenarios 3 optionsBusiness as usualProcess improvementProcess re-engineeringBut... Is it a process problem? And who takes responsibility?Must government drive it? What about civic entrepreneurship?Urgent need to define “reach”Are spatial constructs like regions themselves clunky and outdated? eg by the new mobility?
8 Overcoming the Barriers – A Decentralised Model Abolish RDAs and start again?Let regions define regionsDon’t be hung up on new regionalist memesMake the case that ‘regions’ are where it is atLook at the old and new UK modelsAddress the lack-of-mandate issueGovernments to commit to genuine localism/regionalism, not localism/regionalism-liteReward collaborationResource new bodies (which could be old RDAs)Let new bodies decide on AND fund regional prioritiesRemove oversight from Ministers – a regions commission?Resource research on drivers and models of collaboration – a project for RUN?? Or RAI??