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Readiness for Royalties: Understanding the Changing Conditions for Rural Resource Regions

Authors: Sean Markey*, Simon Fraser University, Greg Halseth, University of Northern British Columbia, Laura Murphy, University of Northern British Columbia, Neil Argent, University of New England, Fiona Haslam-McKenzie, University of Western Australia
Topics: Rural Geography, Resources, Economic Geography
Keywords: royalties, rural, place-based development, evolutionary economic geography
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Large-scale industrial investments have significant implications for local governments in rural regions. To demonstrate important lessons for local government, this presentation examines the capacity and readiness of rural regions to work together during the early stages of processes guiding the redistribution of royalties / revenues from resource-based industries. Drawing from a theoretical foundation of evolutionary economic geography and place-based development, we examine the readiness of the Peace River Region (Canada) and the Surat Basin Region (Australia) to leverage these revenues. In particular, we examine the capacity and early stages of community engagement by local governments to shape the arrangements with the Fair Share Agreement (Canada) and the Building our Regions (Australia). Then we examine how local governments built the case for receiving resource revenues. Third, we explore how they developed a vision for the deployment of royalties / revenues. In the former case in Canada, local government stakeholders demonstrated a keen awareness of their rights, developed strong regional collaboration structures, and invested the resources needed to acquire the information to build their case. In the Surat Basin, however, local government stakeholders have struggled with limited access to research and information; limited awareness, and early absence, of a standardized process to access royalty revenue streams; and inconsistent approaches to negotiating agreements. Both case studies demonstrate how local governments have struggled to leverage benefits to diversify their pathway trajectories, and with regional tensions that threaten the long-term viability of these arrangements.

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