Regional Development Australia is seeking answers from the incoming federal government about what role it will continue to play in delivering on commitments for regional infrastructure.
The Coalition announced prior to the election it would replace the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF), leaving $150 million worth of recent projects in limbo.
The RDAF was the Labor government’s answer to the Regional Solutions program it scrapped in 2008, along with the Area Consultative Committees.
Now the incoming government wants to replace it with a new $1 billion National Stronger Regions Program, but there are concerns regional communities will miss out on critical new infrastructure announced before the election.
RDA executive officer for Far North Queensland and Torres Strait, Sonja Johnson, says it’s important the incoming government honours those commitments.
“It’s $5 million for Far North Queensland, so I’m very keen to ensure that we don’t lose that money.”
“The difference in the model essentially will be that the National Stronger Regions Fund is a local funding pool similar to the old Area Consultative Committee model, which means that money will be available for the community to do infrastructure here locally rather than it be a transparent, merit based, national process.
Regional Development Australia
Federal LNP Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has been a vocal critic of the RDAF and is looking forward to scrapping a program he says has been cumbersome and politicised.
“We are going to look at a program that actually will be funded, not on something that may or may not get money into the future, and I suspect the administration of this and working with the communities will actually create significantly more job opportunities.”
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The future of regional Australia will be the key focus of the Australian Regional Development Conference, 15-16 October 2014, Albury
Australian Regional Development Conference
The conference theme is “Where to from here?” and will cover the broad areas of regional development, economic, planning, environment and community.
The conference will focus on the following themes: Environment/Sustainability; Planning/Building; Community Development; Economic Development; Infrastructure; Employment/Education; and Health Services.
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Australian Regional Development Conference (ARDC)
15-16 October 2014, The Commercial Club Albury
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