Presentation on theme: "Evaluating Regional Development Initiatives: an EU- Australian Comparison Regional Policy in Australia 11UNIV01 Associate Professor Paul Collits University."— Presentation transcript:
Evaluating Regional Development Initiatives: an EU- Australian Comparison Regional Policy in Australia 11UNIV01 Associate Professor Paul Collits University of Southern Queensland
The Core Questions of Regional Development How do we define success (or, what is the problem?) Who is responsible? What drives regional growth and decline? What works in terms of strategy and policy? When should governments intervene? Where? How much? Which activities should we grow?
Australias Economic Geography 101 Continental USA in size, half is desert, only six states Highly coastal, highly urbanised development Cities developed first Agriculture is family oriented, export focused, on very large holdings, often in marginal country and tough climates Hence, no need for dense settlement Very few middle sized cities Population growth driven by OS migration Cities have great locational advantages for households and businesses A key current debate is over mining, land use and economic development
Regional Policy in Australia Three levels of government – national, State, local All involved in regional development BUT... no regional government really AND... no clear constitutional allocation of responsibilities Hence regional governance is problematic, chaotic Shifting emphases and foci Peaks and troughs of political interest in regional development There are many, often uncoordinated interventions across all three levels of government Spatial or place based policy is generally a peripheral concern of government, well below macro-economic policy and even industry policy Despite this, a motherhood commitment to regional Australia
Key Features of Regional Policy Interventions A long term focus on non-metropolitan Australia, considered as a single entity Less on regions as such The provision of adequate services to non-metro regions has been an ongoing policy objective Interventions have been limited in scope and financial commitment Policy fashions, eg leadership, competitive advantage, localism
How Regional Policy Has Evolved Policy has evolved in a number of specific ways, as well as reflecting peaks and troughs of interest From top down to bottom up, reflecting general OECD experience A downscaling of policy reach and ambition Neo liberalism and globalisation in the 1980s Abandonment of decentralisation as a policy objective in the late 1970s Increased recognition of local knowledge but no matching resourcing A multiplicity of programs that cover all bases
Contrasting Australia with EU Less focus, smaller $ commitment Arguably, fewer large regional disparities Less clearly defined, historically recognisable regions Less commitment to interventionist government Inter-regional convergence is simply not a policy objective of any consequence The Aust Federation is a compact among States rather than economic regions A less clear sense of regional policy objectives No consistency in either approach or $ commitment over time Certainly there is no real culture of evidence based policy and of policy evaluation There is little and insignificant devolution of responsibility for regional policy in Australia to local/regional actors Fewer formal collaborations between theory, policy and practice
Lessons from Europe for Australia There is much to learn, whether or not one accepts the high EU LEVEL of intervention The EU, admirably, has serious discussions about how to DO regional development, and forums for doing this The EU looks for evidence of what works and why it works There is a research/evaluation culture There are abundant mechanisms for collaboration between theory, policy and practice The EU does subsidiary/devolution seriously The EU more fully get regions in their complexity, moves beyond endless and simplistic debates over the city/country divide Nothing like EU Open Days has been contemplated in Australia!