A 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.
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