Record Budget investment to strengthen our regions

The Liberal and Nationals Government is investing record amounts of funding in infrastructure, regional development, communications and digital connectivity projects through the 2022-23 Federal Budget, as part of our plan to make the nation wealthier and stronger, create tens of thousands of regional jobs and drive our economic growth.

Under this record investment, $2 billion over the next five years will be made available through the Regional Accelerator Program (the RAP) that will unlock the growth potential of our regions.

The RAP recognises that economic growth and transformation through infrastructure, regional manufacturing, education, supply chains, export opportunities and the defence industry that are aligned with local priorities and the economic advantages of each region.

Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, said the RAP will boost regional economies, attract private sector investment, strengthen export markets and bolster jobs growth.

“This place-based approach to investment will be a catalyst for transformative economic growth and productivity. It will create jobs and support strategic advantages in our regions. It delivers on our key priorities of advancing our manufacturing and defence industries, up skilling workers, and future-proofing our agriculture and higher education sectors.

“This program is about ensuring a sustainable, prosperous and secure future for the people living in our regions.”

Regions that are eligible will be those that are primed for growth, have the ambition and plan to grow and seek to overcome challenges and seize new opportunities.

Our investment in the regions is complemented by our commitment to position Australia as a top 10 data and digital economy by 2030, by investing $1.3 billion in the 2022-23 Federal Budget for improved communications infrastructure and connectivity in our regional, rural, remote and peri-urban communities.

This is in addition to the Liberal and Nationals Government’s $7.1 billion investment over 11 years from 2022-23, to turbocharge four key regional hubs across Australia. With a focus on building next generation export hubs, our commitment to the regions will benefit the whole nation. The four regions include: the Northern Territory, North and Central Queensland, the Pilbara region in Western Australia and the Hunter region in New South Wales.

Regional Accelerator Program (RAP)

Funding for the RAP will be delivered through dedicated Regional Accelerator rounds of Commonwealth flagship economic development programs to enable regions to bring forward proposals for transformative investments for their local communities, including:

  • $500 million in the Regionalisation Fund
  • $500 million in the Modern Manufacturing Initiative
  • $200 million in the Critical Minerals Accelerator Initiative
  • $200 million in the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative
  • $144.1 million in Australian Apprenticeships Initiatives
  • $118.9 million in the Trailblazer Universities Program
  • $142.7 million in the Education Infrastructure in Regional Australia
  • $30 million in the National Centre for Digital Agriculture, Innovation and Adoption Hubs
  • $30.3 million in the Recycling Modernisation Fund
  • $100 million in the Export Market Development Grant program
  • $34 million in the Defence Capability Improvement Grant and Sovereign Individual Capability Priorities Grant programs

Grant guidelines for the $500 million Regionalisation Fund will be released and the program will be open from 1 July 2022.

“With the backing of the private sector and the imagination and leadership of our regional cities, this fund will help make regional Australia sustainable, prosperous and safe,” Minister McKenzie said.

Other Regionalisation Measures

The RAP is complemented by a number of other measures that will support the Liberal and Nationals Government’s regionalisation agenda, including: 

  • $19.5 million for an additional round of the Community Child Care Fund (CCCF) to help establish new child care services in regional, remote or very remote areas.
  • $18.6 million over three years to support building a diversified and flexible Australian Public Service (APS) through the Growing Regional Data and Digital Talent program, with four pilot APS Academy Campuses to be established alongside universities in regional Australia.
  • $14.3 million over seven years to establish four pilot APS Hubs in regional Australia, which will broaden and diversify the APS recruitment pool and ensure more Australian public servants are located closer to the communities they serve.

Regional telecommunications to keep communities connected

The Liberal and Nationals Government is also positioning regional, rural, remote and peri-urban communities to ensure they can take advantage of the digital economy through its $1.3 billion investment in response to the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review.

The Government will deliver a new $811.8 million Connecting Regional Australia Initiative to expand mobile coverage and improve connectivity, resilience and affordability in regional, rural and peri-urban Australia. This initiative builds on existing programs including the Mobile Black Spot Program and the Regional Connectivity Program.

Also, our $480 million commitment to upgrade NBN Co’s entire fixed wireless network, along with enhancements to the Sky Muster service, will enable regional Australians, on both the fixed wireless and satellite networks, to access significantly improved services, maximise the socio-economic benefits of this upgrade, and ensure all Australians can experience the benefits of fast, affordable broadband, regardless of where they live.

An investment of this scale from the Government is needed to better position the regions for the future, particularly following the impacts of COVID-19, growing populations, and changes in working patterns and demands on telecommunications networks.

With co-investment from industry and other tiers of government, we expect this funding to leverage over $2 billion in regional telecommunications investment. This is on top of significant investments already being made by industry across a range of infrastructure, from 4G and 5G mobile coverage, to new fibre transmission, to new satellite systems.

More information on the 2022-23 Budget can be found at www.budget.gov.au.

Media Contact:

Minister McKenzie: David Edghill 0477 417 516