Regional Partnerships For Growth
The Hon De-Anne Kelly MP
|TRS19/Budget||11 May 2004|
The Australian Government will provide an additional $77.6 million over the next four years ($14.4 million in 2004-05) to fund local initiatives in regional Australia under the Regional Partnerships programme.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, De-Anne Kelly, made the announcement today.
"The Government will now spend $308.2 million on Regional Partnerships over the next four years. The additional funding is expected to create as many as 3,500 new jobs in the regional areas that need them most," Mrs Kelly said.
The Government has funded more than a hundred local projects under the programme since it was established in the 2003-04 Budget. The additional funding will provide local communities with Government support in four key areas:
- Strengthening economic growth and opportunities;
- Improving access to services for communities with a population of less than 5,000;
- Supporting planning, by investing in projects that assist communities to identify new opportunities; and
- Assisting structural adjustment, by investing in projects that assist identified regions adjust to major economic, social or environmental change.
"The expanded programme will address some of the key recommendations of Regional Business: A Plan for Action. It was prepared by the expert Regional Business Development Analysis (RBDA) panel and submitted to the Government in 2003," Mrs Kelly said.
"The panel put forward a number of recommendations to improve regional business' access to finance and capital.
"The Government will work with the Area Consultative Committee network, institutional investors and existing investment stakeholders to fund projects such as the establishment of regional investment networks. The projects could also trial new financial mechanisms to meet the needs of small regional businesses, such as revolving loan funds."
Mrs Kelly said that rural communities with limited access to financial and government services would continue to benefit under the programme.
"It is specifically designed to help small communities obtain better access to services such as banking, the internet, Centrelink, postal services, photocopying and fax facilities, and rooms for visiting professionals," Mrs Kelly said.
The Government's 56 Area Consultative Committees have an integral role in the Regional Partnerships programme. The committees are responsible for helping applicants develop their ideas into high-quality projects, as well as helping to broker project partners.
"The package includes additional funding for our Area Consultative Committees, to make sure they can continue to do a great job," Mrs Kelly said.
"The Regional Partnerships programme is just one of the Government's many initiatives for rural and regional Australia. Today's Budget papers include a comprehensive regional statement, Regional Partnerships for Growth and Security, which sets out our measures in detail," she said.
More information about the Regional Partnerships programme can be accessed in the Regional Patrnerships section.
Regional Partnerships for Growth and Security can be accessed at www.budget.gov.au or by phoning the Commonwealth Regional Information Services on 1800 026 222.
|Matthew Magin||(Mrs Kelly's Office)||0408 478 654|