New boost to empower SA’s future regional leaders

The State Government has allocated an additional $2 million in funding to extend the highly successful program fostering future leaders in regional South Australia.

The Regional Leadership Development Program (RLDP) was established in 2022 and designed to empower a broader cohort of leaders from regional communities, including recent graduate Tiahni Adamson named 2024 Young South Australian of the Year and also a nominee for 2024 Young Australian of the Year.

The program is delivered through South Australia’s Regional Development Australian boards (RDAs) and is facilitated in each region to fill the gaps in leadership training. This enables the program to meet the specific needs of each regional community, while also reducing participant travel and increasing accessibility for previously under-represented leadership cohors, such as women who made up 68% of the programs participants.

By the end of 2023, the program had remarkably surpassed more than three times the targeted number of participants, with more than 1,300 taking part in training across 72 regional towns.

The need for an invigorated leadership pool in regional SA was evident at the 2022 local government elections where 93 positions were filled uncontested, and a further 16 vacancies across 10 councils resulted in supplementary elections needing to be held.

As part of the program, seven RDAs offered courses featuring training in governance, financial accounting, strategic and project planning, marketing, and managing volunteers, as well as skills to assist with wellbeing and resilience, empowering leadership, harnessing diversity and inclusion, and cross-sector collaboration.

The program has resulted in many participants either taking up roles on community boards or committees or increasing their commitments on these bodies.

RDAs will continue to deliver the program, making further use of their extensive regional networks, local knowledge, and whole-of-region industry, community, and business connections.

Hon. Clare Scriven MLC, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development said, “Under the management of the RDA network, the popularity of the program in its first two years has been remarkable. Designed to reach 420 participants it has reached more than three times this target (over 1,300), significantly surpassing the demand that was anticipated”.

Hon Rob Kerin, Regional Development Australian Chair said, “It’s important that a wide diversity of regional South Australians are given the practical training they need to effectively lead businesses, industries, and community organisations into the future”.

“I’m proud of how each RDA designed their own program to suit the leadership development needs of their regions, and I’m sure that as the program develops, they will learn from each other’s experiences and adapt their own course offerings accordingly. This is a great investment in the future of regional SA.”

RDA Eyre Peninsula will announce the 2024 program scheduling in coming weeks.
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(pictured: The 2023 Eyre Peninsula Leadership Program Residential III took place at Thuruna Campsite where Hon. Clare Scriven MLC, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development joined the participants to share her leadership experiences.)