Investing in our regions to boost growth and jobs

Media Release


03 May 2016

Joint release with:

Barnaby Joyce

Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
Leader of The Nationals

Regional Australia is critical to the Coalition Government's national economic plan for jobs and growth which is encouraging investment, facilitating innovation and providing vital infrastructure.

This year's budget delivers significant new investment in our regions across all areas of government that will create jobs and promote prosperity in our regions to support our transitioning economy.

We are boosting connectivity, building critical infrastructure, supporting innovation and fostering local leadership to support the eight million people, representing a third of the population, who live and work in regional Australia.

Building on our achievements over the past three years, the 2016–17 Budget will support stronger, more livable regional communities with better infrastructure—including transport links and digital networks—more support for our rural health workforce and better access to health care.

The 2016–17 Regional Ministerial Statement released with tonight's budget, Investing in Regional Growth, outlines almost 400 measures that benefit regional Australia across health, education, employment, defence, infrastructure, telecommunications, agriculture and water resources and other portfolios.

Additionally, as part of this year's budget we are delivering key initiatives in Regional Development, Regional Communications and Rural Health:

  • We are getting on with the job of building the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail and have committed $594 million to acquire the land for the rail corridor and to continue pre-construction activities.
  • Providing $560 million per year from 2019–20 to further support the Roads to Recovery Programme, the Bridges Renewal Programme, the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme, and the Black Spot Programme.
  • Investing more than $21 million to rollout the new Heath Care Homes model to improve the delivery of coordinated primary health care for patients with chronic and complex conditions. A number of Heath Care Homes will provide services in rural and regional areas where access to integrated primary health care can be challenging.
  • The listing of Photography with non-Mydriatic Retinal Cameras on the Medicare Benefits Schedule to cover the testing for diabetic retinopathy with a non-mydriatic retinal camera.
  • Support for Rural and Remote Registrars will enable general practice registrars training on the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine Independent Pathway to claim a higher level of Medicare benefits for the services they provide in rural and regional areas whilst training.
  • Rural General Practice Grants Programme will improve rural health services by redesigning Rural and Regional Teaching Infrastructure Grants Programme, in order to create a more streamlined Programme.
  • Providing $73.6 million over four years for the network of 55 Regional Development Australia Committees (RDAs), to foster and strengthen local leadership across regional communities.
  • Also beginning on July 1 is the roll out of an additional $298.2 million over four years to support the National Ice Action Strategy, which came after the Australian Crime Commission identified ice dealers were targeting rural and regional Australia.

The 2016–17 Budget builds on the record investment the Coalition Government has already made since coming to office to create stronger and more prosperous regions including:

  • An unprecedented $50 billion investment upgrading and building safe and reliable land transport infrastructure across the country
  • The $6 billion White Paper on Developing Northern Australia
  • The $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper
  • The $2.4 billion for regional roads through the Roads to Recovery programme
  • The $1 billion National Stronger Regions Fund
  • Investing $5.2 billion to connect regional households and businesses to the National Broadband Network
  • More than $710 million in drought assistance and support to farmers and rural communities experiencing hardship
  • The $93.8 million Integrated Rural Training Pipeline to develop and retain medical graduates in rural and regional areas
  • $160 million to fix thousands of mobile black spots under the Mobile Black Spots Programme all of which goes to rural and regional areas.