Horticulture region hopeful backpacker tax review will find solution

regional developmentOne of the nation’s largest horticulture production regions is hopeful there will be substantial changes to the backpacker tax after meeting with senior politicians.

The proposed changes for Working Holiday Makers originally planned for a 32.5 per cent tax but a review could see the plan changed.

Delegates from Victoria’s Sunraysia region met with Senator Anne Ruston to raise their ongoing concerns about the tax change and the risk it could dramatically reduce seasonal worker numbers in the area.

Jenny Garonne from the Mildura Development Corporation said, despite the changed tax still needing to raise $540 million for the Federal Government, she believed a workable alternative would be found.

Ms Garonne said alternative tax rates had been proposed by agriculture bodies and tourism businesses to keep regional areas as attractive locations for backpackers.

“There has been a number that have been bandied around over the past two or three months; they’ve included a flat tax of anything from nothing through to 13, 19, 20 per cent,” she said.

“Some contractors are already seeing a drop in the people who would normally come to Australia.

“There’s a real concern for the farmers that they might not be able to have the labour. To listen to the interview click here.

The 2016 Regional Development Conference will be held 5-7 September in Canberra.

To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.

Biofuels bill provides security for Manildra workers

gareth wardThe passing of the Biofuels Amendment Bill provides security for Manildra employees at Bomaderry according to Kiama MP and Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward

“I hope productivity expands so more jobs are required in the industry,” he said.

“Together with Shelley Hancock and Paul Green we’ve been fighting for this for five years.

“It’s good news for our area.”

In addressing the NSW Legislative Assembly Mr Ward declared at the outset the state’s largest producer of ethanol, Manildra Group, operated in his electorate.

“Regional members know how important it is to support jobs and regional development,” he said.

“We know how hard it is to attract business and industry to our communities and to ensure they survive and thrive.

“We know how important it is to secure the future of families that live in regional NSW. We know how strongly our communities feel about giving young people the opportunity to train, work and remain in regional NSW.

“I proudly support the Biofuels Amendment Bill because I support jobs in regional NSW, I support regional industry and I support ethanol, which is good for our environment.”

He said according to an independent review of the industry, nationwide ethanol production delivers 3,000 direct jobs and a further 20,000 indirect jobs.

“The industry contributes $402 million in gross domestic product every year,” he said.

“The majority of these jobs are located in regional NSW. Our community relies heavily on the jobs provided by the ethanol plant in Bomaderry.

“In addition, cities and towns across NSW are home to ethanol industry workers, including Manildra, Gunnedah and Narrandera. To read more click here.

The 2016 Regional Development Conference will be held 5-7 September in Canberra.

To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.


Why smaller towns should matter to city dwellers

WARNAMBOOLWith tax reform debate falling further down the rabbit hole, discussion is shifting to areas less prone to brute partisanship: our cities.

The Turnbull cabinet will soon consider a national cities policy being developed by Angus Taylor, the member for Hume. This is ahead of a federal election where our cities and their infrastructure look set to be a central theme far beyond the usual talk of things such as congestion and productivity.

It also comes in the lead up to the once-in-a-decade United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III, that will be held in Ecuadorian capital of Quito in October. This is where the global urban agenda for the next 20 years will be agreed upon.

A clear position on cities that drives and is shaped by public debate would be a powerful thing for our Urban Prime Minister (or his minister) to take to such a significant gathering of world leaders where the future of global urban policy will be framed. As far as talkfests go, as one of the most urbanised nations on earth, Habitat III is a talkfest that definitely matters to Australia.

Even without these factors, a debate on the future of our cities is a welcome one. Even more welcome is a detailed, evidence-based discussion on the influence government policy has on our daily urban experiences.

Unfortunately, on the evidence provided thus far, we risk having a debate that fails to reach its full potential, is too narrow, and only further stretches the urban-rural divide.

It is easy when stuck in a long commute through the transport veins and arteries of Sydney or Melbourne to forget what is needed for nation building in the broadest sense. The truth remains that we have many more cities still than the handful of big players that typically dominate the public and political debate.

The regional cities and towns of Australia may in fact be the most significant players in the future development of our country. This is the urban century and they matter.

Little thought about by those in the big centres, places like Dubbo, Warrnambool or Rockhampton are just as important as any capital city.

These are the kinds of places that can be the critical missing link to solving many of the issues in our more dominant cities – they are also the kinds of areas often most in need of intervention as the fallout from the urban-rural divide exacerbates many issues. To read more CLICK HERE.

The 2016 Regional Development Conference will be held 5-7 September in Canberra.

To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.

Regional planning to attract funds

102 Whyalla - Eyre Peninsula South AustraliaEYRE Peninsula people are being asked to contribute their ideas for a new regional economic plan aimed at attracting more funding to the region.

Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula and the Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association are working with the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies to develop the plan in an attempt to reverse the trend of the region missing out on government and private investment.

Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula chief executive officer Dion Dorward said the association adopted a regional economic development policy in 2015 and the plan was the logical next step.

Mr Dorward said having a single agreed plan supported by all 11 Eyre Peninsula councils would hopefully see a bigger investment from outside the region to address constraints on the region’s economic development.

“When it comes to the really big spends, it’s far too easy for this region to be forgotten by the decision makers despite the economic contribution this region makes to the gross domestic product,” Mr Dorward said.

“It’s a highly productive, export-focused region and we do need to focus on this sort of planning to persuade organisations outside the region to invest here.”

Mr Dorward said over the past few years the board had developed its own economic priorities and plans, often around the economic infrastructure for the future of the region such as water, power, transport and ports.

But he said everybody had a right to express what they saw as being the economic future as long as it had a strong evidence base. To read more click here.

The 2016 Regional Development Conference will be held 5-7 September in Canberra. To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.

Strong interest for The Hedge, Buddina

buddinaNewly-announced apartment project, The Hedge, is attracting solid interest from both home-owners and investors with Expressions of Interest (EOIs) flooding in for residential and commercial opportunities at the $55-million-plus beachside development at Buddina on the Sunshine Coast.

Lorna Willis from the Park Ave Group said the response to The Hedge had been highly encouraging since the project was announced early this year.

“In a matter of weeks we have seen a flood of EOIs from buyers realising that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase in one of the Sunshine Coast’s premium lifestyle precincts and major growth corridors,’’ she said.

Ms Willis said EOIs had been registered on 14 of the 94 residential apartments and seven of the nine commercial opportunities at The Hedge, in this very short period. “We haven’t even officially launched yet, so this has been an amazing result,” she said.

Valued in excess of $55 million, The Hedge is perfectly placed to offer a range of benefits to future residents and investors being located in one of Australia’s top 10 urban areas and is fast becoming one of Australia’s leading regional economies.

Enjoying a prime beachside location in Buddina, The Hedge benefits from an exciting regional development strategy unfolding over the next two decades which will see the economy triple to $33 billion, the creation of 100,000 new jobs in high end industries and household incomes exceeding the Queensland average.

Setting a new benchmark for contemporary coastal living in the heart of one of South East Queensland’s most vibrant lifestyle destinations, The Hedge is in very close proximity to the beach, schools, bus links, major shopping and professional services including the new $2b Kawana Health Precinct.

With a patrolled beach and local surf club at its doorstep, the project also adjoins the newly upgraded Kawana Shoppingworld which has been earmarked for further major improvements in the coming years including cinema complex, restaurants and new specialty shops. To read more click here.

The 2016 Regional Development Conference will be held 5-7 September in Canberra.

To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.