Current as at 19 May 2020


Local leaders shaping national discussion on COVID-19 response

Regional Development Australia Murray (RDA Murray) are taking a leading role in conveying issues of economic, environmental and social importance to Hon Nola Marino; Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories on a weekly basis during the COVID-19 response period.

Edwina Hayes; CEO of RDA Murray has taken the proactive step to instigate a weekly discussion forum of forty local leaders to ensure that issues of importance from across the vast geographical expanse of the Murray Region are accurately conveyed to the Federal Government through the weekly National Cabinet meetings.

“We know that COVID-19 is having a significant impact across the economic, environmental and social conditions of the Murray region. Given the diversity of communities we represent, it is important we listen to each industry, community and area to understand how they are faring and advocate for solutions that meet local needs.

We are also interested to receive feedback about the effectiveness of government stimulus measures.  As we move through this first challenging period of immediate response and eventually into an emergence phase, it is crucial we have viable businesses and skilled workers ready to re-energise the local economy” stated Ms.Hayes.

Regional Development Australia Murray (RDA Murray) has a commitment to bring together partnerships between whole of government, regional development organisations, the private sector and other key regional stakeholders.

Read the latest Briefing HERE:

While participants reported a rapidly changing environment the key recommendations to support the Murray region include:

30 April 2020:

  1. Improve communication: More detailed and user friendly information about JobKeeper is required
  2. Focus on fast tracking digital connectivity and quality
  3. Support Landcare Conservation Proposal
  4. Consider % stimulus addition with GST BAS return
  5. Consider lifting restrictions by % cases per population or remoteness factors
  6. Consider exceptional water allocation to grow rice

23 April 2020

  1. Rolling out a staggered restriction lifting based on rural and remoteness and % cases in population,
  2. Supporting the Softwoods Working Group strategic bush fire recovery plan and industry development strategy as a keystone industry for 1/5 of region (highest priority for Riverina, Hume and Murray RDA)
  3. Encourage QANTAS to adapt passenger flights/planes to freight similar to Canada and NZ in order to address international capacity blockages
  4. Monitor online gambling sector returns to NFP, charitable sector
  5. Support the Landcare Conservation Stimulus Package (details attached)
  6. Add CALD specific specific business information to health information.

17 April 2020

  1. Institute health declarations and/or permits to travel to allow back packers and other vulnerable itinerant workers to be tested and cleared top travel to areas of work
  2. Support appropriate accommodation options for seasonal workers
  3. Continue to focus on water policy for town supply and food production, bushfire, flood and drought relief and recovery interventions eg. Restore Elliott Way asap,
  4. Support NSW to match VIC payroll
  5. Roll out staggered restriction lifting based on rural and remoteness (besides vulnerable communities) %cases in population

06 April 2020

  1. mental health in isolation and changing circumstances generally
  2. refugee migrant community amplification of family violence with extra cash payments
  3. skilled migrants on temporary visas being disadvantaged including high impact loss of medical, nursing and dental services
  4. imminent closure of Council run Childcare services because Local Governments are not eligible for JobKeeper and Child Care Centre support assumes staff are receiving JobKeeper (One Council has informally reported losing $30k per fortnight.)

Further details:

Edwina Hayes

Chief Executive Officer : Regional Development Australia ~  Murray Region

Ph: 0427 267 753  edwina.hayes@rdamurray.org.au