The Australian Government has commended Regional Development Australia's Illawarra office for its work supporting the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region.
Assistant minister for Regional Development Nola Marino said the Illawarra office led by chair Eddie De Gabriele and chief executive Debra Murphy had done a great job.
Ms Marino said RDA Illawarra's engagement with the Illawarra community and all levels of government had been vital in identifying emerging issues throughout the crisis and opportunities for the recovery phase.
"This work is important to managing impacts and ensuring communities and businesses are able to get back on their feet as quickly as possible," she said.
Ms Marino said key activities being undertaken by RDA Illawarra included advocating for a range of shovel-ready infrastructure projects in the Illawarra region, from major capital investments through to smaller community infrastructure projects.
She said RDA Illawarra also developed a program to assist small businesses pivot and adapt to the changed market and conditions.
Worked with regional stakeholders to develop a tailored program to support tourism-affected businesses, including through the provision of financial and marketing expertise to support their recovery.
And worked with industry, peak bodies, local governments and the Illawarra Regional Recovery Taskforce to develop a three-stage regional recovery plan.
Ms Marino said Regional Development Australia Committees (RDAs) have played and continue to play an important role in delivering sustainable infrastructure and services to their region.
"These committees deliver important work in consulting with communities, promoting and participating in regional initiatives, and providing information and advice on their region to all levels of government," she said.
"Since late March I have been holding regular teleconferences with RDA representatives three times a week.
"These conversations provided first-hand insights into how local communities are coping, and the impact and effectiveness of Government response measures.
"This local intelligence is provided directly to government ministers and agencies to inform policy making.
"I want to thank the RDA Illawarra committee members and staff for their work in driving positive change in your local communities.
RDA Illawarra chief executive Debra Murphy said "it's quite uplifting to have a Minister say good things about us, given it's been such a challenging time for many".
Any businesses interested in assistance can learn more at the RDA Illawarra website.
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