Regional Development Australia (RDA)

RDA reform

Following careful consideration of the findings and recommendations contained in the 2016 independent review of the Regional Development Australia program, the Minister for Regional Development, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, has announced a number of reforms to the program. These reforms will be implemented over the coming months.

RDA Committees will move forward under a new charter PDF: 300 KB  which focusses on growing strong and confident regional economies that harness their competitive advantages and drive economic growth.

Reform measures

Minister Nash announced the RDA program reforms on 18 August 2017.

The key RDA Program reforms are:

  • RDA Committees will operate under a new charter that focusses their work on facilitating economic development by creating local jobs, attracting investment and driving innovation;
  • The four Melbourne RDA Committees will be consolidated into one, consistent with other capital city RDA Committees. The existing boundaries of all other RDA Committees are expected to be maintained;
  • Geographic coverage of the RDA network will be expanded to the external territories of Christmas, Cocos (Keeling) and Norfolk Islands and Jervis Bay Territory;
  • A more rigorous merit-based RDA Chair, Deputy Chair and Committee member appointment process will be implemented; and
  • New performance measures will be established to ensure that the outcomes of RDA Committee activities are properly monitored and measured.

A new role of Director of Regional Development will be created for each RDA Committee, with direct responsibility for delivering the objectives and outcomes required under the RDA charter. The role will be a dedicated position, budgeted for from existing funding provided by the Australian Government.

Frequently asked questions

Answers to a number of frequently asked questions PDF: 638 KB  are available. This list will be updated as implementation of the reforms progresses.

If the answer to your question is not included in this document, please email it to

RDA independent review

In September 2016, Minister Nash commissioned an independent review of the RDA program. This followed a 2014 commitment to review the program by the former Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Warren Truss MP.

The Hon Warwick L Smith AM was the appointed Independent Reviewer, and he delivered his final report to Minister Nash in December 2016.

The review researched, considered and reported on three themes:

  • The RDA program framework;
  • The governance and administration of the RDA program; and
  • Alignment with Australian Government policy objectives now and into the future.

Mr Smith's Review found that although the Australian Government should continue to play a role in regional development, a new approach was required to enable the Government to heighten its focus on initiatives that grow local economies, promote opportunities, attract investment and build capacity and confidence.

Mr Smith's report and the Australian Government's response are available at

RDA Far North

Regional Development Australia Far North (RDAFN) covers a vast region of 799,850 square kilometres which takes in the sparsely settled country of the north of South Australia. It accounts for 80% of the State's land mass and has a population of approximately 28,670 people. Port Augusta is the largest community in the region and acts as a vital service centre for the region's widespread and diverse, small and micro communities.

The region incorporates two of Australia's tourism icons - the Flinders Ranges and the Outback. It also contains the majority of SA's priority mineral exploration regions and the cross roads of Australia's national land transport network.

Significant opportunities for economic growth in the northern region exist in the sectors of resources, tourism, transport, defence, services, food and arts. RDAFN is committed to fostering this growth for the benefit of the Far North regional community.

Far North South Australia is roughly defined as the area from the Aboriginal Lands on the Western Australian border following a line east along the Eyre Highway incorporating the Gawler Ranges to Yunta and Cockburn in the east, and all areas northwards to the Queensland and Northern Territory borders. For operational purposes RDAFN breaks the Far North region into four sub-regions: 

  • Port Augusta,
  • Flinders Ranges,
  • The Central Corridor (Incorporating Roxby Downs, Olympic Dam, Pimba, Woomera & Andamooka),
  • Coober Pedy and Far North South Australia.

Port Augusta is the largest city in the region, covering an area of 1,153 square kilometres with a population of 14, 669 (2009). Port Augusta is the major service centre for the mid and far north of South Australia.

The Flinders Ranges sub region covers an area of 4,130 square kilometres with a population of 1,784 (2009) people. The majority of the population resides in the townships of Quorn, Hawker and Cradock. The major industries in the Council region are tourism and agriculture, with mainly cropping in the southern area moving to pastoralism further north into the region.

The Central Corridor sub region covers from Port Augusta through to Andamooka; the majority of this region is made up of large scale pastoral properties and includes towns such as Pimba, Woomera, Roxby Downs and Olympic Dam mine.

The Coober Pedy and Far North South Australia sub region covers the area north of Pimba through to the Northern Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland borders. This is made up of large scale pastoral properties, the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, small communities, and a number of mines.

The Flinders Ranges Council (FRC) is a stakeholder of Regional Development Australia Far North (RDAFN).

The RDAFN website can be found here:

RDAFN provide numerous services to FRC and can be contacted at:

2a Stirling Road
PO Box 1762

Telephone: +61 8 8641 1444 
Fax: +61 8 8642 6951

Services Include:

  • Economic Development
  • Business Development
  • Skills and Workforce Development