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.

Funding Available for Regional Airports

Local councils and eligible regional airport owners can apply for up to $50 million in funding to support airport infrastructure projects that help boost regional tourism.

regionalairports_760x428

Image courtesy of Minister for Regional Tourism John Barilaro and the NSW Government

The NSW Government’s Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) is for projects that deliver a net economic benefit and meet the RTIF Regional Airports program’s objectives.

Minister for Regional Tourism John Barilaro said that improving access to regional airports had the potential to boost visitor numbers and create jobs.

“Regional NSW has some of the best tourist attractions in the world, and I want visitors to have a great experience and come back, and then I want them telling their friends and families,” Barilaro said.

“Currently over half the international tourists visiting Australia arrive at Sydney’s Kingsford-Smith Airport, yet only 20 per cent travel on to regional NSW. Upgrading regional airport infrastructure has the potential to improve this.”

Eligible regional airports are Albury, Armidale, Ballina Byron Gateway, Bathurst, Bourke, Broken Hill, Cobar, Coffs Harbour, Cooma, Coonamble, Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Grafton, Griffith, Lismore, Lightning Ridge, Lord Howe, Merimbula, Moree, Moruya, Narrandera, Narrabri, Newcastle, Orange, Parkes, Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Taree, Wagga Wagga and Walgett.


ASB Logo