A press release from the Local Government & Shires Association of NSW drew my attention to the release yesterday of the Joint Ministerial Taskforce on Tourism and Local Government report. You will find the report here.
I had a browse through the report. The Association welcomed it, but I wasn't sure that it would make much on-ground difference beyond formally recognising local government's role, as well as the impact of the financial constraints created by the State Government's policy of rate pegging. Both are important. The report also recognised the way in which present regional tourism structures could impede effective cooperation where that crossed regional boundaries. Again, this is important.
The report also led me through to tourism data at local government level, including some details of international visitors. This was a very real gap when I was chair of Tourism Armidale. LGA data also means that I can generate at least approximate numbers for New England as a whole, as well as comparative performance for different areas.
Given all this, why do I say that I don't expect it to make much on-ground difference?
It's very much modern mechanistic - you must have a plan and that should fit with the overall state approach. I am in favour of plans, but most of the Government planning approaches I have seen don't really work because of the mechanical way in which the whole process is approached.
The value of planning really lies in the process adopted, not the plan itself.
In the words of management writer Peter Drucker, planning is about the futurity of current decisions. A well done planning process allows us to identify issues in such a way that the future can be built into current decision making. The plan itself needs to be flexible, capable of review and modification in the light of experience. The current approach to official planning really doesn't allow this.