Wednesday, 1 October 2014
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. Will the Deputy Prime Minister outline how the government is delivering the necessary resources to ensure the growth of Australia's regions and local communities?
The assistant minister and I were delighted to be with the honourable member in his electorate, earlier today, to announce the launch of the National Stronger Regions program. This was a $1 billion election commitment that we made to the regions of Australia to help them build the economic infrastructure they need to improve their economies, to address areas of disadvantage, the areas with high levels of unemployment, to give them a chance to build their economies and be a part of a much stronger nation.
So today we announced the opening of the first round, under the Stronger Regions program, inviting applications from community groups, local government and others who have good ideas to help build their local economies. The $1 billion will be provided over five years and the contributions will be in the order of $20,000 up to $10 million for good projects, matched by the applicant, to do what we can to address disadvantage in our community and help build a stronger future for all Australians.
This was a key election commitment and will bring to reality local projects in areas that might struggle otherwise to renew their economy and provide new job-creation activities.
Dr Chalmers interjecting—
Mr Conroy interjecting—
I am encouraging our regional communities to get behind the National Stronger Regions Fund, to apply for this funding so that the projects they have been working on for perhaps years and were not able to provide the necessary funding may now become a reality. We need to strengthen local communities. We need to have vibrant local regional areas, because we all know that if you have strong, resilient regions you then have a stronger national economy. By working together, we can help ensure those areas that have been missing out over recent times have the opportunity to build a new future for themselves. This is a government that is prepared to back them in their initiatives.