The rural development association, RDA, has called on the Government to legislate a bill that will give rural communities more power to set up their own rural development associations and provide more information about the roles they play in managing their rural affairs.
The RDA said in a statement on Tuesday that rural communities were not adequately represented in the national agenda on rural development and that a lack of rural development assistance was one of the key challenges facing rural communities.
The statement said the Government should include a rural development agenda in the next Rural Development Agenda.
“It is important that the rural development framework be given more focus, including through a national dialogue and consultation process, to identify the specific areas of need and develop effective strategies to address these areas,” the RDA statement said.
The rural Development Bill has been put to the National Rural Development Committee (NRDC) for further consideration, it said.
“In recent months, the Government has been working to bring more accountability to the RDFAC.
The Government should also consider a further legislative reform to give more power and greater information to rural communities and their local government,” the statement said, adding that it was the first time that the Government had introduced a bill in this area.
The bill is expected to be introduced before the end of the year.
RDA president and chief executive officer Michael Llewellyn said the bill was a good first step towards creating a more equitable rural development system.
“This is an important step towards providing greater rural representation to the national dialogue on rural affairs,” Mr Llewyn said.
RDFA president and CEO Michael Lledlwyn said the RDP bill would provide a mechanism for rural communities to have more say in the management of their own affairs.
“A national dialogue, through the National RDFAA Consultation and Consultation Group, would be a good start to building a more transparent and participatory rural development model,” he said.
Mr Lledwyn also said that the Bill would provide more details about the role of local government, and ensure that local government had more say over their local environment and local development.
“There is a lot of uncertainty in the development of our local environment as well as how it can be managed.
This will give the local community greater confidence in managing its local environment,” Mr Mlewys said.
Mr Lledwyn said that local governments would be given an option to establish a rural management board.
“Local government would have the right to appoint a rural managing board, and that would have a greater role in managing the development and operation of the rural area,” he added.
RDFA is currently working on an RDP to ensure that the development process in the country is more transparent.
The National Rural Partnership (NRP) was created in 2008 by the Howard Government to help rural areas manage their own development, which was then followed by the National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA) in 2013.
Local government was the largest category of stakeholders in the NEPA, and the RDSA was the country’s largest private sector-funded rural development organisation.
“The Government must ensure that this Bill is a step in the right direction, and we welcome the opportunity to see the National Dialogue on Rural Development,” Mr Lewellyn added.