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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 716 asked in the Legislative Council on 31 October 2017 by Hon Jacqui Boydell

Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Answered on 31 October 2017

      716. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the Minister for Regional Development:
I refer to the changes to the regional development commission boards—namely, the cutting of the number of board members from nine to six.
      (1) Does the minister expect the smaller boards to provide appropriate representation for all areas in development commission areas?
      (2) Is the cut part of the minister's broader plan to decrease regional representation on government bodies?
I thank the member for some notice of the question.
      (1)–(2) I make a couple of comments. First-up, I think inherent in the member's question was an identification of part of the problem here. What is needed in these regional development commissions is for people to come together and in fact be looking at what will drive forward the economic development of their region. The member sees, however, that each of the representatives from various local governments and other interests should be there as representatives of their sectorial interest. That does not give us a positive response. The member should know that when one is on a body like a development commission, it should not be as a representative of just their small subregion or sectorial interest; they need to be there driving change. Indeed, when we came into government, many of the boards had very small numbers of members on them—a number of them actually had fewer than six people whose terms had not expired. We have decided, and I think this will lead to a much more positive outcome, to have a smaller body of people—under the legislation, six representatives per development commission are allowed—who can be really focused on representing all their regions and drive forward positive economic development outcomes. I refer the member to the work done by Wendy Duncan—a very senior member of the member's party previously—who indeed actually recommended a much more radical change than this. We have proposed a pretty modest thing, designed to get our development commissions more focused and thinking across the board, not about their little portion of the region.