Inconsistent distribution of funds means millions are missing

geelong unfair fundingAre regional stakeholders competing against metro areas that naturally have more resources to put together a stronger application more likely to receive funding?

Tens of millions of dollars in federal funding has been directed to Melbourne suburbs under a regional infrastructure fund as reported by Geelong Advertiser.

Analysis of approved projects shows that the National Stronger Regions Fund has bankrolled major developments in metropolitan areas.

More than $33 million has gone to suburbs in the Victorian capital, including $2.5m for a business and education hub in Sunshine, just 12km from the CBD.

Other grants have included $9m for an aquatic centre in Craigieburn and $5.5m for a town centre project in Melton.

It is a similar tale across the country, with $6 million directed towards infrastructure within 3km of the Brisbane CBD.

Geelong has received support for three projects through the first two rounds of funding, with a new aged care facility in Norlane receiving the bulk of the $7.47m directed to the city.

Application for the third round of funding has closed, with the next list of successful projects expected to be announced in coming months.

The Royal Geelong Yacht Club and Geelong City Bowls Club are among applicants from the region.

As part of our Fair Go campaign, the Geelong Advertiser is shining a spotlight on regional disadvantage as part of a co-ordinated Fair Go campaign with our sister papers across Australia.

A spokeswoman for Regional Capitals Australia said the list of approved projects had come as a shock.

“We strongly support the creation of regional funding because of the investment opportunity for infrastructure projects in regional capitals,” she said.

“However, after recipients from Round One were announced, we realised that regional stakeholders were competing against metro areas that naturally had more resources to put together a stronger application.”

“The NSRF is an example of the difficulty faced by regional Australia in funding infrastructure: lack of transparency and consistency.”

The spokeswoman said infrastructure was not consistently funded in Australia.

“Multiple levels of government handle soft and hard infrastructure under a plethora of different funding arrangements,” she said.

“The only predictable sources of funding for regional Australia are the Black Spot program and the Roads to Recovery program. To read more click here.

Regional funding will be discussed at The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference; Participation and Progress which will be held in Canberra on 5 – 6 September 2016.

The conference explores opportunities for innovation in regional Australia. With its rich resources, diversity, and value, regional Australia is the catalyst for the future.

Addressing issues such as sustainable development, environmental sustainability, land use, community development, investment, agribusiness and innovation it is an opportunity not to be missed.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

 

 

NFF promises “louder voice” if budget fails inland rail

inland railNational Farmers Federation President Brent Finlay said his lobby group’s pre-budget submission demanded the government make “a clear commitment to actually build the inland rail”.

Mr Finlay said he understood the ambitious $10 billion project was in Infrastructure Australia’s 15 year strategic plan but it should be “right up the front” of the government agency’s priority list as reported by Farm Weekly.

He said the inland rail had been talked about for more than 20 years but “it’s now time to do it”.

But if next week’s federal budget provides no clear commitment to build it, “there will be fairly significant pushback” from farmers, he said.

“The hype is there but we now need to do it,” he said.

“Instead of projects that only build Melbourne or Sydney the inland rail is a nation building project that helps to build the entire east coast of Australia.”

Mr Finlay said the NFF wouldn’t launch a straight up campaign if the budget ignored the inland rail; like the lobby group did in calling on the government to reverse its increase to the backpacker tax on July 1, to help protect the supply of seasonal workers.

But he said the NFF and other groups would be prepared to make “a lot of comment” about the lack of inland rail commitment, during the election campaign period, if demands were ignored.

“Everyone gets a louder voice during that process and we’ll use that opportunity wisely,” he forewarned.

Mr Finlay said the NFF hadn’t talked about what actual dollar amount they believed was needed to commence the inland rail’s construction but welcomed the government allocating funds already to help determine where rail lines would be built and other implementation details.

He said the government would not build the inland rail themselves and the project would also require a significant level of private investment that must be encouraged. To read more click here.

Community-owned renewable energy projects to receive boost

Wind turbines in a rapeseed field

An increased political emphasis on climate change will drive more community-owned clean energy projects in Victoria, renewable energy advocates say.

There are more than 70 community groups across Australia currently involved in the development of self-sustaining renewable projects, such as the Hepburn wind farm, west of Melbourne.

Hepburn Wind is the owner and operator of Australia’s first community-owned wind farm, providing clean energy for more than 2,000 homes.

The Community Power Network’s Nicky Ison said renewed support for renewable projects ahead of the upcoming federal election would help bolster similar projects across the state.

“We have amazing renewable energy sources, and most of those resources are located in regional Australia, particularly in south-west Victoria” she said.

“These projects, they provide greater levels of local employment and greater levels of investment opportunity, which means more money from the renewable energy boom stays circulating in regional economies.”

Ms Ison said a direct investment in Community Power Network’s, as outlined in the federal Opposition’s wider Climate and Energy policy package announcement, could help prospective community-run projects navigate legal and technical challenges.

“It will help them negotiate a good power purchase agreement, and allow them to have some of that upfront funding to get through the riskier stages,” she said. To read more click here.

The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference; Participation and Progress will be held in Canberra on 5 – 6 September 2016.

The conference explores opportunities for innovation in regional Australia. With its rich resources, diversity, and value, regional Australia is the catalyst for the future.

Addressing issues such as sustainable development, environmental sustainability, land use, community development, investment, agribusiness and innovation it is an opportunity not to be missed.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

Springborg pledges $495m investment in regions

aa4b532ce6da9493335bf553fb7c8136The State Opposition says if elected it would reinstate its $495 million Royalties for Regions program to help cities like Townsville get a “fair go” for infrastructure funding.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg made the “first major announcement” since the Palaszczuk Government was elected while addressing LNP supporters at this weeks Latitudes North conference as reported by the Townsville Bulletin.

Mr Springborg was flanked by nine other shadow minsters and federal colleagues, including Herbert MP Ewen Jones and North Australia Minster Josh Frydenberg, throughout the three-day event.

Mr Springborg said the State Government had replaced the LNP’s $495 million Royalties for Regions initiative with a “smaller, shorter and narrower program”, highlighting a “lack of commitment” to regional development.

“In Townsville, $220 million less was spent in the Labor Party’s first budget for infrastructure than under the LNP and this is not good enough and this is not a fair go for North Queensland,” he said.

“This would make sure there is a real chance to be able to kickstart major investment across northern and the rest of regional Queensland.” To read more click here.

The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference; Participation and Progress will be held in Canberra on 5 – 6 September 2016.

The conference explores opportunities for innovation in regional Australia. With its rich resources, diversity, and value, regional Australia is the catalyst for the future.

Addressing issues such as sustainable development, environmental sustainability, land use, community development, investment, agribusiness and innovation it is an opportunity not to be missed.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

Victorian Government announces $36.8m for regional police stations

vic police regional developmentPolice are the latest target of a spending blitz by the Victorian Government.

Almost $600 million will be spent in next week’s state budget on public safety, including $36.8 million on regional police stations.

New police stations will be built at Colac, Murtoa, Bright, Warburton, Mallacoota, Cowes and Corryong.

And $2.94 million worth of refurbishments will take place across stations at Bacchus Marsh, Bairnsdale, Benalla, Churchill, Cobden, Geelong, Lakes Entrance, Maffra, Moe, Mount Buller, Portland, Rosebud, Sorrento, Warragul and Warrnambool.

Almost $4 million will be spent replacing or upgrading police residences across Victoria.

Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Justice, Ben Carroll, announced the regional funding in Colac this week.

“Community safety is paramount,” Mr Carroll said.

“The Government is delivering on a commitment to provide better resource for a modern police force,” Mr Carroll said.

The State Government will be spend $11.47 million building the new Colac police station, an announcement welcomed by Colac Otway Shire mayor Frank Buchanan. To read more click here.

The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference; Participation and Progress will be held in Canberra on 5 – 6 September 2016.

The conference explores opportunities for innovation in regional Australia. With its rich resources, diversity, and value, regional Australia is the catalyst for the future.

Addressing issues such as sustainable development, environmental sustainability, land use, community development, investment, agribusiness and innovation it is an opportunity not to be missed.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE.