Delivering a Better Future for Regional Australia

Media Release

JB041/2014

02 June 2014

Joint release with:

Warren Truss

Deputy Prime Minister; Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

The Australian Government is delivering more jobs, better infrastructure and a stronger economy for regional Australians, with the Federal Budget detailing a massive works programme that will invest in much-needed infrastructure across the nation.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss, with Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs, today jointly released Building Stronger Regional Communities, a publication outlining the many Budget initiatives that will benefit regional communities.

“The 2014–15 Budget delivers initiatives that will boost local economies, improve connectivity across our regions, increase productivity and create jobs,” Mr Truss said.

“The $1 billion National Stronger Regions Fund will be up and running next year and will target infrastructure projects that support local and regional development. Organisations, including councils and community groups, will be able to apply for grants between $20,000 and $10 million for community infrastructure.

“The $314 million Community Development Grants Programme is another Coalition initiative that will support key economic community infrastructure by investing in almost 300 local projects.

“Our Budget includes $2.5 billion for local roads under the Roads to Recovery Programme—including an extra $350 million to provide double funding in 2015–16.

“It includes $565 million for Black Spots—crucial to fixing dangerous and accident-prone sections of local roads and streets, plus $248 million for Heavy Vehicle Safety projects.

“There is also $100 million to fill in black spots in the mobile phone network, a new university scholarship program, green army, and an extra $100 million for rural research…all of direct benefit to regional Australia.

Additional funding to the Roads to Recovery and the Black Spot Programmes will support maintenance of local road infrastructure and target funding to achieve better road safety outcomes and productivity uplifts for the regions.”

‘Regional Australians will also benefit from the $300 million Bridges Renewal Programme, upgrading our nations deteriorating bridges to improve safety, productivity and community access.’

Mr Briggs said that “through the National Highway Upgrade Programme, the Australian Government is investing $229 million to improve our key highway networks, strengthening international gateways, freight hubs and trade corridors.”

“The Budget also provides funding to ensure regional Australians have access to fast, affordable broadband Internet and improved mobile phone coverage.

“We are focused on delivering a strategic plan that generates economic  growth and supports thousands of jobs in key regional areas across Australia.”

The Building Stronger Regional Communities publication is available online at: regional.gov.au/regional/publications/