Thursday, 18 June 2020
Rural and Regional Australia; Order for the Production of Documents
(1) The Senate notes that:
(a) the House of Representatives Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation released the 'Regions at the Ready: Investing in Australia's Future' report on 28 June 2018;
(b) recommendation twelve of that report called on the government to develop a clear regional development policy through a comprehensive Regional Australia White Paper, following a Green Paper public consultation process;
(c) the Government established an expert panel to "undertake a targeted assessment of the key issues raised in the Report, including the development of a White Paper" which was to report to Government by 31 March 2019; and
(d) the report of the expert panel has not been made available to the Parliament or to the public.
(2) There be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, by no later than 18 June 2020, a copy of the expert panel report on the 'Regions at the Ready: Investing in Australia's Future' report.
I thank Senator Patrick for his scrutiny of government through these motions. It's important for me to state that, while these reports have played a role in shaping our regional agenda, it is a different place compared to when the expert panel report was actually commissioned. As part of our response to handling some of the worst drought conditions our nation has seen and, indeed, a horror bushfire season—and now a global pandemic—we've debated extensively in this chamber. We've committed to a $2.5 billion regional grants program; a billion dollar COVID relief fund; and a $100 billion infrastructure pipeline. We've also developed a plan to grow agriculture by $100 billion by 2030. We're delivering drought assistance packages, and we'll await the House select committee's report into rural and regional Australia to identify next steps. (Time expired)