Indian Ocean Territories
Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands are external territories of Australia and their management is the responsibility of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. Regional Development Australia is a network of 55 areas. Regional boards and an executive officer promote whole-of-government planning through community, local and state government consultation, provision of information and support for specific projects.
The RDA in Geraldton covers a vast area incorporating the Batavia Coast, North Midlands, Murchison and the Gascoyne. With the additional of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the coverage starts to look like a map of the British Empire. Yet it makes sense in some ways. These islands function very much like the small rural and remote communities of the Midwest and Murchison with the boom and bust economies, culturally diverse populations and persistent social inequities. They also have unsurpassed natural beauty, a fragile eco-system and few resources with which to sustainably protect the environment.
RDAMWG hired Social Dimensions to compile statistics and reports on the population, environment and economy of the Ocean Island Territories to add to what they had already found. Their website has an excellent compilation of information on the territories as well as an evolving RDA strategic plan for the islands.