Place-based leadership in regional, rural and remote Australia
Local leadership is increasingly seen as a significant contributor to the achievement of economic and social objectives at a city, regional or local scale. This is based on the hypothesis that people on the ground are best placed to bringing about economic and social objectives at the local scale. Implied in this is the capacity of local leaders to influence their local institutions and society more broadly. To follow this to its logical end is to conclude that devolution of power to local areas is also an essential prerequisite to local change. Without this, the local leadership is at worst excluded from any involvement decision making or at best an altruistic advisor. This devolution of decision making then brings up a range of significant issues such as who has local authority, where does accountability sit and how do leaders interact with agencies such as local, state and federal government and public servants. Many of the current policy frameworks require co-funding of many government programs targeting regional Australia. This has accelerated the interest in the underpinning theory of place-based leadership and calls for a more focussed discussion into concepts of scale and agency as well as institutional collaboration to understand how place-based leadership leads to endogenous economic growth in regional Australia. For example, some of the key outcomes attributed to place-based leadership include:
- Incorporation of a wider range of interests in decision making
- Local values will inform the bases decision making
- Investment in business development as well as community amenity
- Strong high-skill employment outcomes
- More access to central decision makers
- More power or independence for local communities
- Some of these outcomes described are also seen as counter-intuitive to federal systems of government and neoliberal economies and in-fact imply a significant restructuring of institutional arrangements to truly deliver against place-based values. Place-based leadership may also look very different depending on its location, at least in Australia where we have such wide diversity of place - urban, regional, rural and remote Australia. “Many of the outcomes of place-based leadership are relational rather than transactional so we need to become highly skilled in working across agencies and the private sector as well as the community. It is critical that place-based leaders are well networked into their community” said keynote speaker Robert Prestipino the co-founder of Regional Solutions Framework. SEGRA 2018 will be looking at how well the concepts of place-based leadership translate into rural, regional and remote Australia.
Click here to view the program for SEGRA 2018.