Regional impact assessment: an Australian example
There are many impact assessment methodologies currently available for policy-makers and practitioners. Many of these focused on 'hard' projects related to land-use development, infrastructure, environment, health and broad regulatory impacts. The South Australian Government's regional impact assessment statements (RIAS) is a policy that attempts to integrate a range of assessments to 'soft' service related impacts by defining the boundaries (geographically) to the assessment. The RIAS policy, like many impact assessment methodologies before it, had as it initial stimulus a political response to real and perceived inequities. The effects of deregulatory policies via National Competition Policy were perceived to have impacted unfairly on rural and regional communities and this was largely going unnoticed and unassessed. Governments across Australia, prompted by the ever increasing concerns of rural and regional communities, implemented regional impact assessment as a formal consideration into government decision-making.
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