PASCAL engaged to measure and assess the community engagement needs for Darling Downs and south-west Queensland
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Professor Bill Lovegrove today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Regional Development Australia (RDA), to consider how collaborative partnerships can build on the long-term future for the Darling Downs and south-west Queensland.
Professor Lovegrove said the association will allow both the University and the RDA to better promote the socio-economic status and community well-being across the regions.
'The MOU will strengthen community representation and ensure that state and national government have a better understanding of the area’s economic, environmental, communal and individual needs,' he said.
Professor Lovegrove said the partnership will also report on ways in which access to tertiary education can be improved with particular focus on increased participation programs targeted at addressing the populations’ skills requirements.
'The MOU will also assist in facilitating the data collection and analysis of social capital community well-being.'
'One of the early initiatives is the engagement of the internationally acclaimed PASCAL Observatory to measure and assess the regions’ community engagement needs,' Professor Lovegrove said.
'The project, to be carried out over the next two years, will bring together an expert panel of researchers to measure the economic, educational, social, and cultural needs of the Darling Downs and south west region, and bring this knowledge to bear on policy and practice issues faced by regional authorities.'
Professor Lovegrove said that integral to the RDA partnership is the University’s own Community for Community (C4C) Project that explores community-centred solutions to complex social problems being faced by the community. He said C4C is about building community capability and community well-being from the ground up by gaining a better understanding of these community initiatives.
Regional Development Australia is an Australian Government initiative that brings together all levels of government to enhance the development of Australia's regions. It is a network of 55 committees across Australia that provides a strategic framework for economic development in each region.
- develop regional plans which describe the region, its attributes, industry and employment base and key advantages, and set out the economic, environmental and social vision for the region, articulate the drivers of change, identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, and list priorities for action
- provide advice on funding opportunities available to regional communities from the Australian, state and territory governments
- contribute to planning processes with other regional stakeholders, including local government
- conduct workshops to build the skills that businesses and community organisations need such as succession planning for small organisations, developing governance skills, writing successful grant submissions and contract management
- research particular issues or areas, identifying issues and driving change
- develop and implement solutions that address the region's needs
- hold regional forums on key issues affecting their regions
- help the region to attract new industry and investment.
Chair of RDA Darling Downs and south-west Queensland, is Councillor Bill Cahill, Toowoomba Regional Council whose portfolio includes Environmental and Community Services.