NT to receive better deal from Building Better Regions Fund

fiona nash 2A Federal fund for regions that pumped millions into capital cities will now be restructured to ensure the money comes to the Territory and other regional areas.

Before the start of the election campaign, the NT News revealed nearly $50 million from the National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF), touted as a victory for regional Australia, was going towards suburbs in major capital cities.

Projects within 3km of the CBD in Brisbane were funded by the first two rounds of the program, while $33 million was spent on Melbourne proposals, including a water park.

But Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash will today pledge to improve the scheme she inherited, transforming it into the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).

“As Regional Development Minister, my vision is to help build the regional communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to,” Ms Nash said.

“We don’t want to lose the talents of our young people to the cities, and creating regional, rural and remote communities they’d love to live in is one way to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

The new scheme will now only go towards projects outside capital cities and will target two streams, infrastructure projects and community investments.About $505 million was spent on the first two rounds of the NSRF, with the remaining cash from the $1 billion scheme to run through the rounds of the BBRF.

The program is expected to run until 2020, with the potential to be extended after that.

Proposals in regional capitals like Darwin and Hobart will still be eligible for funding, while those in major metropolitan areas such as Sydney or Melbourne will not.

Ms Nash said the new scheme would have a fairer assessment process, sorting proposals into categories based on size.

“It’s very hard for smaller and more remote community and volunteer groups or small councils to compete for funding against big capital city councils who have the ability to employ consultants to write grant applications,” she said.

“It also makes sense to assess small projects against small projects, medium-sized projects against medium-sized, and major projects against major projects. A $500,000 project should not be competing with a $20 million project for funding.” To read more click here.

The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference; Participation and Progress will be held in Canberra on 5 – 6 September 2016 to register for the conference CLICK HERE.

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.

Fair Go campaign wins back our funding

fiona nashA Federal fund for regions that pumped millions of dollars into capital cities will be restructured to target communities outside Australia’s major hubs

In a major victory for the Fair Go for Regional Australia campaign, the National Stronger Regions Fund will no longer be allowed to give money to major cities.

Just weeks ago we revealed nearly $50 million from the fund, touted as a victory for regional Australia, was being spent in suburbs in major capital cities.

Projects within 3km of the CBD in Brisbane were funded by the first two rounds of the program while $33 million was spent on Melbourne proposals, including a water park.

But Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash will today pledge to improve the scheme she inherited, transforming it into the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).

“As Regional Development Minister, my vision is to help build the regional communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to,” Ms Nash said.

“We don’t want to lose the talents of our young people to the cities, and creating regional, rural and remote communities they’d love to live in is one way to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

The new scheme will now only go towards projects outside capital cities and will target two streams, infrastructure projects and community investments.

About $505 million was spent on the first two rounds of the old fund, with the remaining cash from the $1 billion scheme to run across the new Building Better Regions Fund.

The program is expected to run until 2020, with the potential to be extended after that.

Proposals in regional capitals like Darwin and Hobart will still be eligible for funding while those in major metropolitan areas such as Sydney or Melbourne will not.

Ms Nash said the new scheme would have a fairer assessment process, sorting proposals into categories based on size.

“It’s very hard for smaller and more remote community and volunteer groups or small councils to compete for funding against big capital city councils who have the ability to employ consultants to write grant applications,” she said.

“It also makes sense to assess small projects against small projects, medium-sized projects against medium-sized, and major projects against major projects. A $500,000 project should not be competing with a $20 million project for funding.

“We will introduce three infrastructure project categories to ensure projects of a similar size will be ranked against each other and small projects will not compete with major projects for funding.”

Entries for the third round of old funding scheme closed in June, with regional projects competing with major proposals in metropolitan areas.

Applications submitted included funding for new Brisbane Broncos and Brisbane Lions facilities as well as a Melbourne Innovation Centre in the inner-city suburb of Alphington in the Victorian capital. To read more click here.

The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference; Participation and Progress will be held in Canberra on 5 – 6 September 2016 to register for the conference CLICK HERE.

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.

Federal Election: Government announces $150 million for Queensland dams

ql dams regional fundingThe Coalition has announced it would spend $130 million to build the Rookwood Weir on the Fitzroy River if re-elected.

They will also spend $20 million for 14 feasibility studies for new dams in the state, hoping they would boost agricultural production by $1 billion and create more than 2,000 news jobs.

The announcement comes as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce visit Capricornia today, one of the Coalition’s most marginal seats.

The funding comes from $2 billion of funding the Federal Government has allocated as part of its dams policy.

Growing Central Queensland has been a key player in encouraging the development of the weir and attracting public and private investment.

Project manager Anne Stunzner said she was delighted by the announcement.

“It’s the first time in 40 years we’ve seen a significant investment in water infrastructure in central Queensland,” she said.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to provide low cost water for agricultural growth in the region.”

Ms Stunzner said she hoped today’s announcement would be closely followed by state funding, and the project would begin before the end of the year.

“There’s the opportunity for the states to access the $2 billion water infrastructure fund, so I’m guessing that’s where they’ll look to fund the other half of the dam from,” she said.

Another feasibility study for Urannah Dam

Of the funding, $150 million dollars has been allocated for the fast-tracking of feasibility studies for a number of water projects.

For the tropical north, the proposed Urannah Dam feasibility study will receive $3 million.

The Bowen Collinsville Enterprise applied for the funding, but the project has been studied for decades and millions have already been spent on feasibility studies: the latest will the fifth in 30 years.

However, the federal member for Dawson, George Christensen, said this level of funding had never been contributed to the planning studies for Urannah.

“There’s been desktop studies done of this in the past but we’re talking about not just a desktop study here; we’re talking about funding to bring it to construction stage,” Mr Christensen 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 to register for the conference CLICK HERE.

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.

There is still an opportunity to speak at the Conference CLICK HERE to submit an abstract.

Ties to State Government remain a problem for regional commissions

wendy duncan regional commissionsA WA Nationals MP says ties to the State Government have ‘hamstrung’ the nine commissions responsible for developing regional Western Australia.

Kalgoorlie MP Wendy Duncan made the concession during this week’s Kalgoorlie Futures Forum, following an address from Geelong Region Alliance chief executive Elaine Carbines.

With Ms Carbines highlighting the organisation’s independence as a key factor in its success, Ms Duncan said it provided a solid example for WA to follow.

“At the moment, the commissions are a bit hamstrung, because they are answerable to the (Regional Development) Department and Minister,” Ms Duncan said.

“Instead of having a bit more independence, and the ability to thump the table.”

While officially listed as “independent partners” of the Department of Regional Development, the commissions for the state’s nine geographic regions are wholly funded by the State Government and answer to Regional Development Minister Terry Redman.

In contrast, the G21 group is an independent company representing the interests of the City of Greater Geelong and four surrounding councils.

Concerns at the convoluted nature of the application process prompted Mr Redman to boost the number of full-time staff when the blueprint was finally launched this year.

“My message to those organisations would be finding a way to work together,” Ms Carbines said.

“While you’ve got disparate groups who all have their own agenda, politicians like that because they don’t have to do anything — it’s just a fight at the local level.”

Ms Duncan said a state government review into regional development which she chaired in 2010 had previously identified the need for an overarching, independent body.

“There was huge backlash to that idea, because they thought it was centralising regional development,” she said.

“But that is what’s missing: an independent authority, bringing together and co-ordinating what the Regional Development Commissions are wanting to achieve.” 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.

Synergies for regional development and agriculture

regional development Fiona nashNewly appointed Regional Development, Health and Communications Minister Fiona Nash says she won’t forget her agricultural roots after a major promotion in last week’s ministry reshuffle and is excited about the opportunity to work not only in rural health but also in regional development.

In a recent interview Minister Fiona Nash says “I don’t see that I’ll ever stop being a champion for agriculture; particularly around the new area of regional development,” she said.

“I believe there are some real synergies between regional development and agriculture, as indeed there is in communications.

Senator Nash said she was “very humbled” to be chosen by her party colleagues to be National Party deputy leader and the first female leader in its 95-year history.

To read the article in full CLICK HERE.