Media Release by Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens

Social Inclusion an important focus for rural leaders

Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector, Senator Ursula Stephens, today highlighted the importance of addressing social disadvantage across Regional Australia.

Speaking at Regional Development Australia’s (RDA) National Forum, at Parliament House, Senator Stephens said government and the Third Sector (not-for-profit sector) through RDA’s are important change agents in their region, and must connect with and support nor-for-profit organisations in their regions.

“The issues which lead to social exclusion are multifaceted – they can be a result of a variety of factors from intergenerational poverty or mental illness to a lack of employment opportunities or language barriers,” Senator Stephens said.

Senator Stephens said that everyone benefits when social and economic issues are addressed at local and regional levels.

“Let’s build on the skills, assets and potential of our regions to promote a fairer Australia.

“This isn’t the responsibility of a single level of government or institution.

“It is why we launched the National Compact yesterday, which for the first time formalises the partnership between the Government and the Third Sector.

“It provides a framework for how we will work together to improve policy, program development, and ultimately, service delivery across the country,” Senator Stephens said.

The Forum brought together Members of Parliament and the Chairs and Deputy Chairs of all 55 Regional Development Australia committees.

Senator Stephens encouraged RDA Committees to sign up to the National Compact, adopt the principles and become partners and champions in the community.

Further details about the National Compact.