Budget delivers a stronger economy for regional Australia

Media Release

JM066/2018

09 May 2018

  • New funding rounds announced for the Building Better Regions Fund and Stronger Communities Programme
  • Improved access to essential government services delivered with a number of public service functions to be relocated to regional and outer-metropolitan areas
  • The three initiatives will create jobs and investment opportunities in regional, rural and remote Australian communities and deliver new infrastructure

Rural, regional and remote communities have received a major boost in the 2018–19 Federal Budget with additional community grants programs and decentralised services set to be delivered across regional Australia.

Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh said the 2018–19 Budget was a clear indication the Turnbull Government is committed to driving stronger economic growth and job creation in regional Australia.

“The 2018–19 Budget shows the Turnbull Government's unwavering commitment to regional Australia through the extension of vital community grants programs that invest in economic and social infrastructure in our regions,” Dr McVeigh said.

“The Turnbull Government is providing regional communities the opportunity to build the infrastructure they need to thrive with an additional round of the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).

“Following the success of round one of the BBRF which created 26,000 jobs through over 250 projects nationally, and with round two BBRF projects currently under assessment, we are providing $200 million to do a third round of the program.

“In recognition of the importance of the tourism sector to regional economies the Coalition Government will earmark $45 million of this additional investment for tourism-related infrastructure projects.”

Dr McVeigh said the now $641.6 million BBRF would continue to invest in infrastructure projects that create jobs, drive economic growth, and build stronger regional communities into the future.

“We are also extending the Stronger Communities Programme to a fourth round with an additional $22.5 million to help deliver social benefits across Australia,” he said.

“In the first three rounds we funded over 3,300 projects, ranging from a new modular stage at the Kiama Showground, NSW; support for a men's shed in Albany, WA; and a transport vehicle for dialysis patients in Sarina, QLD.

“Like previous rounds, grants under the Stronger Communities Programme will be between $2,500 and $20,000 for successful applications, delivering more than 1,000 further projects.”

Dr McVeigh said the Coalition Government is strongly committed to expanding on the success of its Decentralisation Agenda.

“We will continue to roll-out practical and common sense decentralisation initiatives that will boost economic growth and provide more opportunities for secure, high-paying jobs outside Canberra, inner-city Melbourne and Sydney,” Dr McVeigh said.

“Through the 2018–19 Budget we are relocating nearly 100 positions from six government entities and better connecting government services to the people they serve.”

This will include relocating public service jobs from six government entities, including positions from the following:

  • The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations moving 10 positions from Canberra to Darwin;
  • Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Indigenous Affairs Group Regional Network moving seven positions from Melbourne to Shepparton; and 25 positions from Sydney to Parramatta;
  • The Unique Student Identifier Registrar moving 40 positions from Canberra to Adelaide;
  • The Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner to be established in Adelaide creating four positions;
  • Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities Indian Ocean Territories moving three positions from Canberra to Perth; and
  • Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities Inland Rail Unit moving nine positions from Canberra to Toowoomba, Dubbo and Wodonga.

“This builds on the success of earlier decentralisation initiatives including the recent relocation of 100 Department of Human Services staff from Sydney CBD to Parramatta; and the successful relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to Armidale; and AgriFutures Australia to Wagga Wagga,” Dr McVeigh said.

This is the next step in the Coalition Government's Decentralisation Agenda, with further announcements to be made in coming months.

For more information relating to Budget 2018–19, please visit: www.infrastructure.gov.au/budget.