How to put the power back a decentralised model
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How to Put the Power Back – a Decentralised Model PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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How to Put the Power Back – a Decentralised Model. Associate Professor Paul Collits Research Director Economic Development and Enterprise Collaboration, USQ. The Joke. No need for a joke to start the presentation as regional policy in Australia is itself the joke.

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How to Put the Power Back – a Decentralised Model

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How to put the power back a decentralised model

How to Put the Power Back – a Decentralised Model

Associate Professor Paul Collits

Research Director

Economic Development and Enterprise Collaboration, USQ


The joke

The Joke

No need for a joke to start the presentation as regional policy in Australia is itself the joke.


Some takes on the regional world

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)


Some takes

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


Three types of regional governance

Three Types of Regional Governance

  • There are three things happening with regional governance

  • The regional coordination of central government policies

  • Regional development

  • Regional planning

  • All have limitations - involve many layers of interventions and activity, multiple and complex processes, often uncoordinated and under-resourced governance and poor evaluation of interventions

  • There is a regional governance deficit

  • Too little OR too much regional governance?


The barriers to regionalism

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 mandate

  • Other problems – regional Australia is obsessed with, well, regional Australia, not with regions

  • Regional collaboration remains an unnatural act between non-consenting adults

  • Fragile, possibly false, consensus over regional scale

  • Regions are largely top down constructs in Australia

  • Fragmented, messy arrangements

  • Silos matter – few incentives to own joint projects

  • So... Putting the power back is not simple and centralisation is not the only problem


Overcoming the barriers broad scenarios

Overcoming the Barriers – Broad Scenarios

  • 3 options

  • Business as usual

  • Process improvement

  • Process re-engineering

  • But... 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?


Overcoming the barriers a decentralised model

Overcoming the Barriers – A Decentralised Model

  • Abolish RDAs and start again?

  • Let regions define regions

  • Don’t be hung up on new regionalist memes

  • Make the case that ‘regions’ are where it is at

  • Look at the old and new UK models

  • Address the lack-of-mandate issue

  • Governments to commit to genuine localism/regionalism, not localism/regionalism-lite

  • Reward collaboration

  • Resource new bodies (which could be old RDAs)

  • Let new bodies decide on AND fund regional priorities

  • Remove oversight from Ministers – a regions commission?

  • Resource research on drivers and models of collaboration – a project for RUN?? Or RAI??


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