The Strengthening Communities project’s regional development conference event.

The sustainability of the community services industry in rural and regional areas is crucial. As an industry it’s important to share expertise and knowledge to support growth that will benefit everyone.

There is one project in northern Queensland doing just that.

Earlier this year the Regional Social Development Coalition (RSDC) received an Australian Government Building Better Regions grant to deliver the Strengthening Communities in the Whitsunday Isaac Mackay (WIM) Region.

The project is enhancing community leadership and cohesion to build stronger, more resilient, regional communities across the region.

Through a range of community engagement activities with small not-for-profits the project is:

  • strengthening regional interconnectedness
  • building community leadership and capacity
  • facilitating collaborative partnerships
  • advocating for identified regional issues.

Off the back of delivering a range of activities, the project’s next step is a regional development conference event, scheduled for Monday 22 October 2018 as part of the SEGRA conference.

This event will bring together people and organisations to explore how they can work together and in smarter ways to improve sustainability and viability.

RSDC Project Coordinator, Antoinette du Toit,  said the theme for the community forum event would be Place-based solutions for stronger regional communities and economies.

“We believe that locally based and managed organisations know their own communities best and are vital to building connectedness,” Antoinette said.

“At the forum we will be exploring and defining social infrastructure and asking how this can be better building in regional communities.

“We will also explore the link between Collaborative Practice and Social Infrastructure, showcasing four regional examples,” Antoinette said.

CSIA CEO Belinda Drew is presenting at the SEGRA Conference and participating in a panel for the RSDC community forum.

“We are excited to be working with RSDC, and in particular on this initiative, to build the sustainability of community service organisations in the WIM region.

“Rural and regional areas are delivering integral community services to their communities, and CSIA is committed to being part of the conversation, sharing knowledge and supporting growth,” Ms Drew said

Would you like to join the conversation and lead real change in rural and regional communities. Find out more at or email Dorne at [email protected]

The Community Forum follows key successes in the delivery of the project. In the short time since receiving the grant, the RSDC Strengthening Communities in Whitsunday Isaac Mackay Region has:

  • Provided “on the ground” governance and management support for over 20 not-for-profit community managed organisations across the WIM region.
  • Conducted an economic analysis to provide data as evidence of potential savings from collaborative service models and increased viability of more streamlined operations.
  • Held a series of 10 Regional Community forums exploring place-based responses to the ever-changing parameters of funding for community services and activities.

RSDC has been providing community development and social infrastructure planning in the WIM region since 1974.

The coalition draws together community organisations to address concerns and unmet needs as identified by communities across the region.

RSDC’s core purpose is to empower people and to make our regional communities better places to live by fostering collective action, collaborative planning, strong relationships and connectedness.