Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/ Latest releases from the Ministers en Funding flows to Murrumbateman with $14.3 million pipeline https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/funding-flows-murrumbateman-143-million-pipeline <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The construction of a 17.9-kilometre water pipeline in Murrumbateman and Yass is complete.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The pipeline will service up to 3,000 people in the village and improve the water quality in the area.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the project will dramatically improve water quality and supply in Murrumbateman.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This project, funded under the $611 million National Stronger Regions Fund, is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to strengthening Australia’s regions by improving the productivity, employment and workforce skills of Australians,” the Deputy Prime Minister said. </p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The $14.3 million investment was made possible with $6.1 million from the Australian Government, $3.9 million from the New South Wales Government and $4.2 million from Yass Valley Council.”</p> <p class="MsoListParagraph">New South Wales Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the NSW Government’s Restart NSW program has provided funding to more than 750 local projects, for a total of $2.2 billion.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraph">“Over 350 projects are now complete, and a further 395 are in various stages of delivery creating a stronger and safer regional NSW,” Mrs Pavey said.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Senator for New South Wales Perin Davey said the area is currently serviced through a water supply system, which uses water drawn from ground water sources and, while it undergoes a disinfection treatment process, it can still be below average quality.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraph">“This substantial investment will ensure water supply copes with demand, especially during summer,” Senator Davey said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Local member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said local jobs were created during the project, as well as an ongoing position following its completion.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“The project is a huge boost for local residents with the potential for an estimated 170 new jobs to be created thanks to the potential housing construction activities now the project has been completed,” Mrs Tuckerman said.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“The major infrastructure project is now complete with the reservoir full of water from the Yass Water Treatment plant after successful commissioning of the pipeline, pump station and reservoir. It has been a massive undertaking for Council staff and contractors and I’m pleased to say that we are now ready to supply water to people of Murrumbateman,” said Yass Valley Mayor, Rowena Abbey.</p> <p class="MsoListParagraph">“I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Australian and NSW Governments for the financial support that made this water transfer project possible. I would also like to congratulate the Yass Valley Council Infrastructure &amp; Asset team for its hard work in overseeing the management of this significant project for the Local Government Area.”</p> <h2 class="MsoListParagraph"><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Jock Rice-Ward 0417 837 565 | Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Minister Pavey – Ministerial Office (02) 8574 7300</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Senator Davey – Electorate Office (02) 9159 9310</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Cr Abbey – Gabby Iannelli 0413 612 726</p> McCormack Funding flows to Murrumbateman with $14.3 million pipeline Transcript - Interview on CNBC Asia https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/interview/transcript-interview-cnbc-asia <p><strong>WILL KOULOURIS </strong></p> <p>I’m very pleased right now to be able to welcome the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Michael McCormack, he’s joining us live from Canberra. Deputy Prime Minister, thank you so much for being here.</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>It’s a pleasure.</p> <p><strong>WILL KOULOURIS </strong></p> <p>In terms of the spend that we are seeing on this Budget, though, you know that potentially later tonight we’re going to hear from the Opposition. There’s going to obviously be those people that say we’re spending too much in terms of the $161 billion Australian deficit. But realistically with the impact that we saw from COVID-19 and the hope that we can really get this unemployment rate below five per cent and the recovery back on track, was there really any other alternative?</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>There was not and that is why John Howard, indeed, former greatly acknowledged Prime Minister of this country said when you do have a situation such as this then you need to throw everything at it, to ensure that those jobless queues which we saw very early in the pandemic, which were reminiscent of the Great Depression, we didn’t want to see those continuing. We wanted to see businesses as best as they could to be able to stay open. And that’s what why we put in place a measure called JobKeeper, which enabled businesses to remain connected with their employees, to remain with their doors open and remain functioning and trading. And that’s why we also extended the JobSeeker allowance, which is our, effectively, unemployment rate, to give those people who suddenly found themselves on the welfare queues – for sometimes the first time in their lives – the dignity of being able to still put bread and butter on the table to still have that ability to be able to finance their lives. We’ve made some tough decisions. We’ve made some big calls, yes, but Australia is the envy of the world when you look at our low case rates. Yes, we’ve lost 910 Australians and that is very, very sad for their families. But if you consider what was being tipped early in the piece with thousands of people dying, with potentially, you know, much of the population being affected by this virus, we’ve done very, very well.</p> <p><strong>WILL KOULOURIS </strong></p> <p>And I wanted to touch on, as well as, because you’re obviously the Minister for Regional Development as part of your many portfolios but we’ve seen a considerable shift, I suppose, when it does come to this investment as well in green technologies, this investment that has been earmarked in terms of really making that shift. And, you know, it all ties into the Biden Summit that we had back in April towards things like green hydrogen, towards things like carbon capture technology. So how important is that going to be? Because you’ve also got to balance the fact that in a lot of these regional areas perhaps the coal-fired plant is the big source or the big employer? So, how do you navigate trying to find that balance and ensuring that we still meet all of our targets moving forward?</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>Well, you’re totally right and we’ve absolutely done what you’ve just said – we’ve had that balance. That word is very important. So we still use, of course, traditional forms of energy and indeed, two-thirds of our energy supplies come from traditional sources, come from coal. Indeed, it’s also worth $66 billion of exports and employs 55,000 Australians and makes sure that many other countries can be warm in winter and cool in summer and that’s necessary. But we’re meeting and beating what we said we’d do as far as our climate emissions, as far as lowering our emissions are concerned. We’re certainly meeting what we said we’d do in Paris. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll continue to, as we work towards 2050 and of course, meeting future climate targets, of course, we will make sure we do it through technology, not taxes.</p> <p><strong>WILL KOULOURIS </strong></p> <p>Now, the farmers, I suppose, over the past couple of years here in Australia have had a particularly rough trot. We’ve dealt with the bushfires, we’ve dealt with the droughts. We had the floodings earlier this year and also the issues when it does come to China. But how has the Government really been able to try and drive into other export markets in order to make sure that they have somewhere to sell their goods?</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>Well, Dan Tehan is the new Trade Minister and he wasted no time in getting across to Europe, getting across to the United Kingdom, and I know he’s made himself freely available to American diplomats as well. We’ll make sure that we broaden our trade interests. We’ve got that trans-Pacific partnership agreement – $13.3 trillion opportunity right here in our backyard. And we’re making sure that we do diversify our markets. Of course, China is a big market for us – $149.7 billion of trade with China. And we also understand it’s a big world out there and we’ve got the world’s best food and fibre. Our resources are in great demand and we’ll continue to make sure we diversify our markets. Dan Tehan will continue to make sure that if there’s any other possibilities – we’ve just sent our first shipment of barley indeed, to Mexico. So, that’s something that’s a new and diversifying market example, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.</p> <p><strong>NANCY HUNGERFORD </strong></p> <p>Sir, it’s Nancy here in Singapore, and as you point out the importance of the relationship with China, your biggest trading partner here, there are concerns that the relationship is not at a very good point right now. And I just wonder how you respond to China when they say that it’s your Government that has caused – taken a series of measures that has been really the disruptive force in this relationship and accusing you of a cold war mentality. How do you respond?</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>Well, we’ll let the World Trade Organisation sort out any matters or any conflicts so far as trading relations are concerned. We’ll continue to work in a diplomatic and pragmatic and practical way with Chinese officials. We’ll continue to do that. Our phones are always there if they want to talk to us, in a very bilateral fashion. Of course, Dan Tehan, the new Trade Minister – very welcoming and open to any conversations that Beijing wants to have with us as far as making sure that we smooth any relationships, that we get on with continuing to provide China with our resources of course, their steel mills need our metallurgical coal. They still need our other resources, whether it’s food, whether it’s fibre. They understand that we’ve got a great market here and we’ve got a great product and they’ll continue, I know, to support us, as we will them.</p> <p><strong>NANCY HUNGERFORD </strong></p> <p>I think part of the concern, though, is when China came out and indefinitely suspended the key economic dialogue with Australia they signalled to many that they’re not really in a mood to negotiate. What specifically are you willing to do in the Government to bring China to the negotiating table and improve this relationship?</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>We’ll be patient. We always are. We’ll be patient. We’re here. We understand that we’ve got the world’s best product and I know that perhaps some of your viewers might think otherwise – we’re all very parochial and we’re all very fiercely proud of what we produce in our own countries – but I know our farmers are the best in world. I know our mining resources are valued right across the world and whether it’s rare earths, whether it’s coal, whether it’s iron ore – you mentioned that at the top of the show, our iron ore price is very strong at the moment and we’ve based our Budget on very conservative estimates about where that iron ore price might go. But, indeed, our resources are greatly valued, greatly in demand around the world and whether it’s China or any other country, we’ll work with them always in a friendly and diplomatic and responsible way.</p> <p><strong>TANVIR GILL</strong></p> <p>Good morning, Tanvir Gill joining in this conversation as well. You, India and Japan have come together – Australia, India and Japan have come together to formally launch the supply chain resilience initiative that China’s called unfavourable for the global economy. What is the plan here and how do you go about executing the supply chain lines across these three regions?</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>Well, resilience is a big thing and whether it’s Japan, whether it’s India or whether it’s Australia, we all need our markets to be more resilient. We all need to bounce back. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic and of course, our hearts go out to India at the moment with what they are suffering through this global pandemic. We want to get through this. We have to get through this and as peoples of the world, we will get through this and resilience is a very, very big thing. We understand just how much we need to broaden our interests with market opportunities. But we also need to have that ability to be able to reach out to our friends, to our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific region and make sure that they know that Australia is here, Australia’s open for business and Australia will continue to trade because we understand as well as anybody that trade equals jobs and more trade means more jobs.</p> <p><strong>TANVIR GILL</strong></p> <p>Alright, on that subject, given the crisis that India is facing, how are negotiations going with the Indian authorities on restarting repatriation flights? I believe the flights start the day after. Because your Immigration Minister has said that the whole process will be very complex and will take a lot of time.</p> <p><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p>And it will take time and we’ll always put our national interest first. But, of course, we are a country which places humanitarian efforts first and foremost and that’s why we’re always first to help when island nations in the Pacific have cyclones and other natural disasters. We’re very much conscious of the fact that we’ve got a number of Australians in India at the moment, and we speak to High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell on a daily basis. I know the Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Marise Payne, is very aware of the problems and difficulties that India faces and that’s why in the Budget there’s more than 120 government-facilitated flights. We’re going to bring more than 17,000 Australians home over the next 12 months and we’ll continue to do that. Our Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on March 13 last year, he urged and encouraged and implored Australians if they could do so to come home. Not all Australians took advantage of that ability to do it then and of course, with the situation worsening in some countries, there is a great desire to come back to Australia now. So, we’ll continue to facilitate those flights. We’ll continue to work with commercial airlines to make sure that we get as many Australians home, whether they’re in India or anywhere else.</p> <p><strong>NANCY HUNGERFORD </strong></p> <p>Sir, we very much appreciate you joining us today and weighing in on these important issues. Thank you so much. The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Michael McCormack with us and Will, thank you for bringing us the interview, as always.</p> <h2><strong>Media contacts:</strong></h2> <p>Caitlin Donaldson, 0428 389 880</p> <p>Jock Rice-Ward, 0417 837 565</p> McCormack Transcript - Interview on CNBC Asia Budget 2021: Delivering for the Indian Ocean Territories https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/marino/media-release/budget-2021-delivering-indian-ocean-territories <p>The Morrison Government is supporting the long-term sustainability and economic development of the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) through the 2021 Federal Budget.</p> <p>$2.3 million will be provided over two years to promote diversification and growth across Christmas Island (CI) and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI). $58.6 million will be provided over four years for maintenance of critical Commonwealth assets and infrastructure in Australia’s territories, and approximately $5 million will be brought forward from 2021-22 Financial Assistant Grant funding for the Shires of CI and CKI to spend on local priorities. This funding is in addition to other ongoing Australian Government investments for service delivery and infrastructure in the IOT.</p> <p>The $2.3 million commitment will assist with improved water security, waste management and a new grants program for local landholders and research organisations to support trials for innovative agricultural methods on CI and CKI. The agriculture grants will identify produce that can be grown in the region, building on previous agricultural research and supporting long-term economic opportunities, jobs, health and food security.</p> <p>To ensure the IOT has the infrastructure needed to grow, we will undertake a water security assessment to help determine current and future water infrastructure needs. The remote location and complex groundwater systems of the IOT makes water security vitally important. We are also building on the CI and CKI 2030 Strategic Plans by developing a waste management strategy for the IOT.</p> <p>The Government is moving to secure the future of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands’ marine environments with plans to establish two new Marine Parks, covering up to 740,000 square kilometres of waters around the IOT. The Government will now open consultation with Island communities, stakeholders and the commercial fishing industry to establish a Marine Park Area (MPA) to protect this international marine treasure.  $5.4 million has been provided to support local jobs and economic growth associated with the marine park. </p> <p>One of the proposals Government has carefully considered was the proposed re-issuing of a casino licence for CI.  The Government has determined not to proceed with the proposal, but will continue to support other local tourism opportunities.</p> <p>After what has been a year like no other, we are building a bridge to recovery through targeted, sustainable economic measures that will help the IOT grow and flourish now and into the future.</p> <p>For full details, visit <a href="http://www.infrastructure.gov.au">www.infrastructure.gov.au</a>. </p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Assistant Minister Marino ­– Sophie Beeton (02) 6277 4293</p> Marino Budget 2021: Delivering for the Indian Ocean Territories Transcript - Interview on NewsDay, Sky News https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/interview/transcript-interview-newsday-sky-news <p class="CxSpFirst"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Budget was handed down, of course. We’re getting all the reaction now and who better to talk to than the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack here in the studio. Thanks for your time.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">No worries, Tom.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">A lot to get through, let’s start on the vaccine, because a lot of Australians want to know about the vaccine and the timeline. Let’s just clarify this, is it end of the year? What is this? A target, an ambition? What’s happening here?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, we absolutely certainly hope that we can do it by the end of the year. But we shouldn’t lock ourselves down to any timelines because all sorts of things that affect this – supplies, just the sheer logistics of this. Remember that Professor Brendan Murphy when he was the Chief Medical Officer – of course, he’s now the Secretary to the Department of Health – said this is the largest logistical exercise in Australia’s peacetime history. So it’s a big, big thing. I was talking to Saul Resnick this morning, they’ve already travelled 13.5 million kilometres delivering more than 24,000 consignments of the vaccine and that’s through DHL. So Australia is a very large country, of course, we’ve got the GP roll out, we’ve got the pharmacies helping and thanks to the Pharmacy Guild, they’re all on board. It’s a big exercise. So, we hope that it’s the end of the year, but don’t want to be locked into, you know, saying that it’s going to be completed by December 31 when, of course, we’ll also –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">If it goes well from here, it will be done this year? Is that what you’re saying?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, let’s absolutely hope so and bear in mind too, that we want Australians to take the opportunity to get not just the first jab but the second one as well.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So, that’s what you’re saying? You said lots of things can happen, but as we stand right now with all the things in place, you mentioned Pharmacy Guild, GPs, mass vaccination centres and so on, if that all goes well, it will happen this year?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I’m going to say let’s hope so. And, of course, then there’s the prospect –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I think people want more than hope, though, don’t they?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, Australians need to also get the jab when they are eligible to do so. Of course, there’s also the time taken between getting your first jab and getting your second jab, whether it’s Pfizer or whether it’s AstraZeneca and I don’t want to lock myself in to saying that if you have your first jab some time in December it may well fall into January by the time you’re able to get that second jab. So there’s a lot of factors –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So there’s a first jab time line, not a second jab –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, all I’m saying is that there’s a lot of factors at play here.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">But we know, we’ve known for a long time, you need to have two jabs. You’re saying this is only for the first jab?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">No, I’m working towards making sure that every Australian gets their vaccination as soon as possible.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">What’s the success rate – the percentage of the population getting it?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">A hundred would be nice, but let’s be reasonable –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">What is reasonable?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, I’d leave that for the best possible medical experts to actually give us that. But we will –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We’ve got all sorts of experts –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We’d obviously like 85, 90 per cent of Australians to make sure, because at the end of the day that’s going to enable Australians to be able to travel, it’s going to enable travel bubbles to be opened up with other countries where vaccination rates are very high. Let’s remember, Australia’s got a very high vaccination rate, whether it’s for children’s immunisation levels – it’s very, very high. So, Australians largely do the right thing when it comes to protecting our own.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So it’s 85, 90 you’d see as a success?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I’d see success as 100, but let’s say that we need as many Australians as possible to get the vaccination and you should direct that question to Paul Kelly or Brendan Murphy.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">All right. Well, certainly.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">And I’m sure you will.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I will, we get them on from time to time. No new money for a quarantine facility. Is this not a priority?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, we’ll work with states who’ll bring these proposals forward. Of course, quarantine –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">But they had the proposals, though and you put down a Budget that didn’t have any money in it. Why not?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, there were still a few factors to go through this and when you say they have, I’m assuming you’re talking Victoria.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Victoria’s one of them –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">There’s a couple of proposals that have been mooted, yes. There’s one in the outer suburbs, there’s one for Avalon but let’s work through this.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">It seems strange not to put the money in the Budget for it if you’re serious about doing it?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, as you’ve known, Tom, the whole way through, we’ve made money available. As former Prime Minister John Howard told Josh Frydenberg the day before JobKeeper in a telephone conversation that Josh has, of course, told people about, there are no ideological constraints when it comes to a crisis such as this. We haven’t had a crisis like this since World War II or indeed, since the Spanish Flu.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Maybe, it’s the decisions taken but not announced. Is that maybe –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, we could make that decision. If we come to an agreement with a state – with Victoria. We could make that decision quickly.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So there’d be money there?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We would find the money. We would make sure that if we are all in agreement that it’s a good thing to do, that it’s actual going to help fight the virus – because that’s what we’re doing at the moment. We are fighting the virus.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Into your portfolio of infrastructure – payments related to the Infrastructure Investment Program cut by $3.3 billion over four years. It’s described as a re-profile of the program. What does that mean?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">There’s no cuts. There’s no cuts. What you’ve got to remember –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So $3.3 billion less –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">There is a 10-year rolling infrastructure program. Look, if states and territories want to bring projects forward then I’m more than happy to talk with them. There is money available that they have for projects which work has not been completed and of course, we pay for work upon completion. We’re not like Labor who I know have been singing and dancing in question time and saying, “Well, why aren’t you meeting these milestones?” Well, it’s the states and territories which do the tendering and do the contracting and in fact, run the projects.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So payments related to the Infrastructure Investment Program are reduced by $3.3 billion, is that not right?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">$110 billion of infrastructure –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">But this reduction, $3.3 billion over four years, page 84 of Budget Paper 1, it’s a re-profile of the program. What does that mean?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I’m happy if states want to bring projects forward and if they say, “We’re in a position to bring works forward on the Bruce Highway” – in Queensland’s case. I’m happy if the New South Wales Government says, “We want to bring Dungowan Dam forward,” in the Tamworth area – the Peel area. I’m happy if South Australia says a particular project they’ve got in mind, they want to bring it forward, then I’m more than happy to provide money right there and then upon completion of milestones. That’s what we do.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, what’s that 3.3 billion re-profiling though?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, it’s all part of the overall infrastructure mix. We’ve got –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">But there must be –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We’ve got a budget of $110 billion – $110 billion. That’s supporting 100,000 workers and let me tell you, when you’re out on those work sites, when you are, as I was the other day, at Rookwood Weir and you see 120 of the 250 people going to build that 200-metre wide weir which is going to be five storeys high and you see 50 dozers pushing around dirt – more than happy to have that project up and out of the ground and it’s taken a bit of time. It’s taken a bit of argy-bargy with the states. So there’s always that argy-bargy, but I’m very bipartisan when it comes to building infrastructure.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">But I’m just trying to – $3.3 billion, again, re-profiling. This is less money over this four years for re-profiling the program.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We work on states’ priorities. We listen to the states. What they’ve called for –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So are these specific projects that the states are not ready to roll out in that four years?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">That is very much happening but if they want to bring them forward – more than happy, to put that money up, to bring that money forward and to indeed, get those projects happening. I’m quite particularly proud of the Scottsdale Dam in North East Tasmania. Started in October 2018, now finished and benefitting the farmers in that area.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Childcare, so big changes, but not until July next year. Why not?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">It’s a matter of priorities and of course, we’ve put a lot of money out the door in the last 12 –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So it is priorities, the Minister said it was an IT systems issue.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, we’ve got to work through those issues too, of course, the Minister would know the exact areas in their own Department where they need to be able to –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">But the low-income tax offset was backdated. You could backdate this. You could say it starts now and the payment will flow next year.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, potentially we are. We can look at all these things. But in the context of the Budget people out there are not looking at really the semantics. They are saying this is a good Budget –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This is not semantics. This about is money –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This is a good Budget, I’m talking right across the board. They are looking at the Budget, they’re saying there’s tax cuts, there’s infrastructure builds, there’s a quarter of a billion dollars for Building Better Regions and I tell you what, out in the regions they are welcoming, they are very heartened by this Budget.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Flights for tourism. There was some confusion over this. You recently said it was capped and demand driven. What is it?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">If the 800,000 tickets are snapped up – and I know 663,000 of them have already been – well, when those 800,000 tickets are gone, very happy to look at what we can do in the future. So very happy –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So they’ll be extended?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, quite potentially.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Is there money in the Budget for it?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, we’ll make sure that there’s the right amount of money, because that’s what we’ve done the whole way through. We’ve tweaked our programs, we’ve made sure that the projects, if the states and territories want to bring them forward, we will do that too.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So this program, originally 800,000, there could be more? More cheap tickets?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Potentially so. So we’ll look at Cairns and we’ll look at places like Darwin or we’ll look at Kangaroo Island. We’ll see if the program has worked as successfully as we’ve wanted it to and we’ll also see the economics of those regions – how has it helped, how has it not just helped the tourism operators, those great travel agents, how has it helped the coffee shops, the restaurants. It’s also a matter of finding the workers. I was in Cairns the other day and a restaurateur said to me, “We’re only open two days a week. We’ve now extended it to five because of the great program. I could be open seven days but I can’t find the workers.” 66,000 jobs in regional Australia, going right now.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Just finally, you said the India travel ban went too far. What should not happen next time? Should the prison sentence not be threatened next time?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, that is part of the Act. That is part of the Biosecurity Act –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">You could change the Act.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, you could change the Act. You’ve got to put it back through Parliament but nobody is going to be jailed for that situation.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Should we change the Act?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, potentially but we’ve got other priorities on at the moment. We’ve got other priorities and that is fighting the virus.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">But maybe we should change the Act and no longer have a prison sentence.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, I think you have to have those provisions in that Act to ensure that Australia’s biosecurity is safe.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So don’t change the Act?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I think you’ve got to have those priorities to ensure –</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So don’t change the Act?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, it’s a big thing to actually then go putting the whole Act back through the Parliament for this situation which hopefully and we know will ease in the not-too-distant future.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So, you’re saying don’t change the Act?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, I’m not going to say change the Biosecurity Act just because of the threat that was placed there. It was always there to stop potentially people coming in and doing damage to Australia’s great security for agriculture and indeed, for viruses.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>TOM CONNELL</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Appreciate your time, busy week. Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK </strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Always great, Tom. Thank you so much.</p> <h2 class="CxSpLast"><strong>Media contact: </strong></h2> <p>Caitlin Donaldson, 0428 389 880</p> <p>Jock Rice-Ward, 0417 837 565</p> McCormack Transcript - Interview on NewsDay, Sky News Budget 2021: Delivering for Norfolk Island https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/marino/media-release/budget-2021-delivering-norfolk-island <p>Through the 2021-22 Federal Budget, the Morrison Government is committing $18.7 million for ongoing delivery of a suite of essential services to the Norfolk Island community, with a focus on sustainability and practical, fit-for-purpose services to best meet the current and future needs of the community.</p> <p>This investment is enhanced by $58.6 million over the coming four years for maintenance of critical Commonwealth assets and infrastructure in Australia’s territories, including Norfolk Island.</p> <p>We have prioritised Norfolk Island’s youth, committing more than $4.6 million in 2021-22 for education support services and services for child and family wellbeing, to ensure Norfolk Island residents have access to key services and facilities.</p> <p>Our Government is investing more than $1.7 million to support information technology upgrades and dedicated bandwidth services for Commonwealth facilities on island including Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Services (NIHRACS) and the Norfolk Island Central School.</p> <p>A further $664,000 will enhance NIHRACS governance and accreditation, to support improved patient outcomes and standards of healthcare for the Norfolk Island community.</p> <p>As Australians look to their own backyards for travel, Norfolk Island has the opportunity to strengthen and grow its domestic tourism industry which is why the Australian Government is investing an additional $380,000 for tourism promotion and destination marketing for Norfolk Island.</p> <p>We are committing an additional $735,000 in 2021-22 for the ongoing NI Argentine Ant Eradication program, with more than 26 percent of the infested area already successfully treated. There is also $552,000 to kick off a project to address water supply and quality issues on Norfolk Island.</p> <p>In addition to supporting these important initiatives, our Government is prioritising good governance of Norfolk Island with funding to support the implementation of the recommendations out of the independent audits of the governance and financial management of the Norfolk Island Regional Council (NIRC) and annual financial auditing.</p> <p>To support Norfolk Island rebuild following COVID-19, the Morrison Government has further committed to bringing forward approximately 50 per cent of the 2021–22 Financial Assistance Grant funding to be spent on local priorities. This cash injection of some $2.8 million for Norfolk Island Regional Council, to be paid from 1 July 2021, can provide assistance with the impacts of the pandemic.</p> <p>After a year like no other, which saw COVID-19 significantly affect the tourism and hospitality industry, our focus is on supporting NI through the pandemic and now along the continuing path to recovery, and into the long-term. For full details, visit <a href="http://www.infrastructure.gov.au">www.infrastructure.gov.au</a>.  </p> Marino Budget 2021: Delivering for Norfolk Island Speech - Regional and Rural Budget 2021 Address https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/speech/speech-regional-and-rural-budget-2021-address <p class="CxSpFirst">The Budget places Regional Australians at the heart of our national recovery, post-COVID-19.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">A strong and thriving regional Australia is good news for all Australians.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This Budget delivers for Regional Australians … in spades …</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">… Certainly with shovels in the ground!</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Last year’s Budget was the best Budget Regional Australia has ever seen.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This year’s Budget builds on the record.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Through this Budget, our Government is continuing to provide support as regional communities recover from a tumultuous period.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This support is not just about immediate recovery; we are also working to help our regions prosper long into the future.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Regional areas have been through it all in the past year-and-a-half … drought, fires, floods and the health and economic impacts of a global pandemic.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">These events have challenged regional people, disrupted key regional industries and heaped great pressure on regional communities.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Our people and industries have persevered, against great adversity.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">As the Prime Minister said at Beef Week in Rockhampton:</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">“During the course of COVID, it has been our agriculture sectors, our resource sectors, our primary industries in this country that have done so much of the heavy lifting economically for our country, and they've been going through hard times as well before the pandemic.”</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Whether it’s the farmers in our agriculture industry who drove the value of agriculture in this country from $60 billion to $66 billion in the past year … or the tens of thousands of workers in the resources sector … or indeed our small businesses … it is the regions leading our recovery.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This is the spirit of Regional Australia, the spirit this Government celebrates.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Today I deliver my annual Regional Ministerial Statement to Parliament on Rural and Regional Budget Outcomes. </p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Last October when I gave the first of these statements, I announced significant investment in our regions.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This was a ground-breaking commitment to regional development, particularly providing much-needed support in the face of hardships and disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Today I update the House on the progress of these vital and timely efforts.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I will also detail major new packages and individual measures we are delivering to support regional communities and industries in their recovery.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Today I reaffirm the Government’s plan for strengthening our regions long into the future.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This plan sees Regional Australia as the ideal place to build a career, raise a family, launch a business … the place to lead a fulfilled life.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Government’s plan will help sustain strong regional communities, create jobs and grow key regional industries.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Last year’s Budget was about delivering support for regional Australians when they needed it most and about realising their economic growth potential.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Now, look at the statistics:  In 2020, 43,000 more Australians moved from the city to the regions than the other way around.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">It’s helping address the sharply rising demand for jobs in the regions – on latest count, more than 66,000 vacancies.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">COVID-19 has posed significant threats, but the silver lining has been to show how the infrastructure and communications improvements of this era are delivering a new regional quality of life.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Our regions are the place to be.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The “Move to More” campaign from the Regional Australia Institute, proudly supported by the Morrison-McCormack Government, is bearing fruit.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">In last year’s Budget we committed $4.6 million towards this campaign, because we believe our regions remain some of the most vibrant, liveable and community-oriented places in Australia, if not the world.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">…. As I say again, big enough in which to find a great cup of coffee, small enough to still care.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">In March 2020, responding quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government established the $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">From regional tourism to regional airlines, from small business counselling to export marketing: This Fund provides vital and targeted support to industries hardest hit by the pandemic, many of which are vital to regional communities.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Water is the lifeblood of our regional communities and industries.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The 2021-22 Budget has committed up to a further $258 million from the $3.5 billion National Water Grid Fund.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">As part of the $258 million, a new funding pathway within the Fund, called the National Water Grid Connections pathway, will provide up to $160 million nationally over the next two years to drive the construction of smaller-scale projects.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Up to $20 million is available for each state and territory to deliver projects with an Australian Government contribution of up to $5 million per project.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">An additional four new construction projects are being delivered to boost water security, build resilience in our regions, deliver jobs and grow our critical agricultural sector.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We are committing $75.7 million to construction of new and augmented infrastructure projects.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This includes an additional $7.5 million in funding for Rookwood Weir to deliver water security in north Queensland, bringing the total Australian Government investment in the Rookwood project to $183.6 million.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">It was inspiring recently to look out over the site.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The excavators, 50 of them, were busy putting the footings down which will ultimately result in a weir 202 metres wide with a spillway five storeys high.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The site has a huge camp which will house up to 250 project staff working 10 days on, four days off.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Rookwood Weir will mean a new era for agriculture, for manufacturing, resources and communities with 86,000 megalitres of storage.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">It will support jobs … more than 2,000 jobs for Central Queensland. How good is that?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We’re building the new Regional Australia.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Government’s commitment to ongoing investment in water infrastructure builds on the eight construction projects already completed since our establishment of the National Water Grid Authority in late 2019, bringing the total number of construction projects in this investment pipeline to more than 30. </p> <p class="CxSpLast">Delivery of water infrastructure is happening.</p> <ul> <li>Scottsdale Irrigation Scheme in Tasmania, operational late last year, started in October 2018 and delivering 8,600 megalitres for 17,000 hectares of irrigable land, supporting 45 jobs;</li> <li>South West Loddon Rural Supply project in Victoria, completed May 2020 and connecting an area of 120,000 hectares to the pipeline;</li> <li>McLaren Vale Treated Water Storage in South Australia, finished this time last year, has boosted water security to farms right across the region; and</li> <li>The Warwick Recycled Water for Agriculture project in Queensland is now operational, providing 73 megalitres a year of Class A water to boost employment in the Warwick Industrial Estate.</li> </ul> <p class="CxSpFirst">… just some of the projects already completed.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">But there’s so much more to be done and done it will be.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We have committed a further $22.3 million towards the development of eight business cases, informing future investment decisions and the ongoing development of the National Water Grid.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Each National Water Grid project means our regional areas are better serviced, more liveable and economically stronger.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This Budget further aids the COVID-19 regional recovery.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We are providing more than $5.7 million in grant funding to the new Rebuilding Regional Communities Program, in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We have announced an additional $1 billion for the highly successful, highly effective Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, delivering jobs and growth through regional council projects.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Government continues to deliver pro-active support for regional communities – from investing in the volunteer organisations to the big infrastructure projects.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Duplication of the Pacific Highway, the $10.4 billion Bruce Highway upgrade and essential works on the Princes Highway are helping bring us into a new era of road safety and efficiency.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Road safety is a paramount objective.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">I’ve made this clear when I committed $2 billion over 18 months.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Half this money was for projects which are to be completed by the end of next month …</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">… around 700 projects approved, the majority in the regions.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This Budget delivers an extra $1 billion for what becomes the $3 billion Road Safety Program and that will save lives.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This in turn creates a jobs benefit with the new funding to support 4,500 jobs … taking total jobs around Australia supported by the Road Safety Program to 13,500.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We have committed $100 million over two years for Regional Recovery Partnerships.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">These Partnerships are co-ordinating investments with all levels of government to support recovery and growth in 10 regions across the nation, delivering jobs and economic diversification.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Already we’ve had some fantastic regional projects announced through these partnerships.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">In Gippsland, a number of projects will boost the region’s tourist economy, including the East Gippsland Rail Trail … an investment in the future, as the good Local Member and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Darren Chester, will attest.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Last week I was in Gladstone where two projects are being funded totalling $10 million.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The first project will create a more accessible and attractive waterfront and upgrade Auckland Hill lookout near Gladstone port for locals and tourists.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The second project will help develop a hub of expertise in renewable hydrogen, exploring both domestic and export opportunities.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The opportunity for innovation embedded in our regions will help secure our long-term economic and social future.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Aviation was hit first and hit hardest when COVID-19 came to our shores.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Government stepped up to the challenge with targeted, sector-wide support to sustain the industry.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">In March this year, we announced a further $1.2 billion package of support for the tourism and aviation sectors.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This means industry-wide assistance from this Government for aviation is more than $4.5 billion.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">It’s a vital action for Regional Australia to stay connected to critical services and networks in the face of COVID-19 challenges. </p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Regional Airlines Network Support or RANS has meant regional and most importantly remote communities have had face masks, respiratory equipment and in particular frontline health workers, being able to come into their communities.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Without RANS, regional communities faced being denied this vital support.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The latest aviation and tourism package includes 800,000 half-price airfares to regions significantly impacted by the pandemic … with more than 663,000 already sold, encouraging a record number of Australians to enjoy a holiday at home this year.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Just this month, with Assistant Minister Kevin Hogan I was pleased to unveil 46 more Remote Airstrip Upgrades across far-flung areas of Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Throughout the pandemic, this Government stepped in when it mattered and provided the right kind of support where and when it was needed most.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">As Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton shows, this Government has delivered fair access to COVID vaccines, equipment and medical personnel to all Australians including our vulnerable remote communities.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Government recognises our regions need and deserve high quality health care.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">In this Budget we have invested across services in primary health, hospitals, aged care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health and mental health.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We’re investing more than $65 million from 1 January 2022 to boost bulk billing rebates and provide more affordable healthcare for patients in regional, rural and remote areas.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">More doctors in the regions is our goal.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We’re looking to the future and showcasing regional talent.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Our communities shine at their annual shows and we all know that.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The $39 million Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days Package is supporting these important industry and community events so they can not only survive but indeed, they can thrive into the future.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">After the challenges of flood and COVID-19 disrupted their 2020 Show, the Stroud Show north of</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Newcastle benefited from a grant which was described by the Show President as a game-changer.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">A month before I visited in April, the showground was underwater. But this could not stop a determined Show committee, so typical of the strength and resilience and dogged determination of Regional Australia.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Federal Government’s continued investment in regional infrastructure creates jobs and fosters economic growth.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Our enduring investment in transport infrastructure buoys our commitment to a record $110 billion over a rolling decade-long program.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Inland Rail will inject more than $18 billion into Australia’s GDP during construction and the first 50 years of operation.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Many supplies for construction are sourced from Australian and specifically regional suppliers including ballast and capping from Parkes, culverts from Tamworth, steel from Whyalla and concrete sleepers from Mittagong and Wagga Wagga.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Inland Rail is already helping to revitalise regional economies and attract new and expanded investment.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Building Better Regions Fund, the “BBRF”, is a monumental funding commitment to the regions.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">It backs community-driven projects poised to deliver direct local benefit. It creates jobs. It drives economic growth.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">As one example, Summerland House Farm in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales received $4.5 million to expand its macadamia processing and packaging facilities.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This is supporting 200 local farms as well as employment opportunities for local people with disabilities.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Kingborough Council in Tasmania and Barkly Regional Council in the Northern Territory each have funding to build and to refurbish community facilities.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">BBRF funds projects enhance community capacity and make regional Australia the best place in the world to live.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">In the 2021-22 Budget, this Government commits a further $250 million – a quarter of a billion dollars – towards a sixth round of the BBRF.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This brings the total commitment for the program to more than $1.2 billion over the seven years to 2024-2025.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">As the world changes, as digital connectivity becomes increasingly central to economic and social life, we are supporting communities in regional Australia to keep pace with these changes.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This Budget gives a $153.2 million injection to improve connectivity in regional, rural and remote communities, further driving Australia’s regional-led recovery.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Government will build on the success of the Regional Connectivity Program by committing a further $84.8 million to the program.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This includes up to $24.6 million in extra funding for meritorious Round One proposals which were unable to be supported from within the initial funding envelope.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The remaining funding will be available through a new competitive grants process.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This will support new projects additional to the 81 successful projects I announced last month with colleagues Ministers Paul Fletcher and Coulton.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Government is also providing $68.5 million in dedicated funding to improve telecommunications infrastructure across Northern Australia through the Regional Connectivity Program and the Mobile Black Spot Program.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Over the past 18 months, many regions have faced droughts, fires and floods.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">A new National Resilience and Recovery Agency will continue to provide ongoing recovery support for individuals and communities.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The new Agency consolidates and builds on the success of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency, the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency, rural financial counselling programs from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the disaster risk reduction and recovery functions of the Department of Home Affairs.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">It will use a network of on-the-ground advisors and co-ordinators who will work with partners and communicate with decision-makers.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud is delivering much-needed drought support programs for regional areas.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">In 2020-21 we began the rollout of the $5 billion Future Drought Fund, a continuous funding source for drought resilience initiatives.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The next phase, from 1 July 2021, includes $36.5 million towards harnessing innovation, $91 million for better risk management to help farmers plan ahead and $12 million for better and more accessible climate information.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Government has extended the Drought Community Support Initiative and will provide assistance to farming households in financial stress in 117 local government areas, until funding is exhausted.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">From 1 May 2021 this includes all Local Government Areas announced as eligible for the Drought Communities Program Extension in 2020.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We have funded eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs Australia-wide, collaborating with regional universities and the private sector.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We have Regional Australians’ backs.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Agriculture 2030 Package supports Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors working to achieve $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030. </p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">An array of specific actions includes funding of $160 million to the Western Australian Agricultural Supply Chain Improvements project to better connect our world-class farmers – the best in all of the globe – to domestic and international markets.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Through strong representation from Resources, Water and Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt, the Government has committed $190 million to the next five-year plan for Northern Australia – Our North, Our Future.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The next five years will pilot focused investment in geographic growth areas, deliver greater digital connectivity, support businesses to scale up and diversify, and will gather data to support evidence-based economic growth.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Business growth is a key to the future. Indeed, the regions will continue to take full advantage of the Instant</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Asset Write-Off provisions now extended into 2023.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Last year we announced $41 million to support the regionalisation of Australian businesses, in line with the trend of more Australians making a tree and sea change.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We remain focused on delivering these two programs, with announcements of projects to be funded expected in July.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">With strong advocacy from Decentralisation Minister Andrew Gee, we are continuing to support the Regional Decentralisation Agenda through new actions.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">An independent study will identify the regulatory barriers to business relocation to regional Australia.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This will have a particular focus on regulations across all tiers of government restricting, delaying or increasing the cost of business relocation to regional Australia.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This Government will also complete a scoping study on establishing Australian Public Service Hubs in regional Australia. The study will inform consideration by the Government of the feasibility, cost and benefits of the regional Hubs.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We continue to work closely with our veterans, Australia-wide.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">As Minister Chester says, Australians value the ongoing commitment of our veteran community, and the Government is committed to providing support that recognised the significant contribution that veterans and their families make in civilian life.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The Government invests more than $11.5 billion each year to support 325,000 veterans and their families, many of them in the regions.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The 2021–22 Budget builds on this with an additional $702.6 million to focus on wellness, support, suicide prevention and ensuring the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is appropriately equipped.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">In recent years the Government has invested more than $500 million into the most significant reform of Australia’s veteran support system in decades, which has achieved ongoing success in making it easier for veterans and their families to engage with the DVA.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The 2021–22 Budget includes a further $55.1 million to build on these improvements, making it quicker and easier for veterans and their families to access the support they need.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We will continue to encourage the contribution to Australian society by our wonderful volunteers.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Indeed, Assistant Minister Michelle Landry recently advised closure of applications for the latest Volunteer Grants round.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Combined funding from 2020-21-and 2021-22 has made this a double grant round.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We know smaller-scale grants such as these deliver large-scale strength to our communities, through our community champions.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">We couldn’t do without our volunteers.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The policies and programs I mention today are just part of the Government’s commitment to regional Australia.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Our commitment will facilitate recovery from the hard times but equally it is about looking forward … making sure regional communities are places where Australians enjoy the good life.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">This Government is supporting regional Australians, building opportunities and investing in the future.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Our Budget announcements – across all areas of regional life – infrastructure and transport, health, digital connectivity and supporting local business and leaders – are meeting the needs of regional Australia.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">The 2021-22 Budget ensures regional Australia continues its recovery and has every opportunity to thrive in the future.</p> <h2 class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>Media contacts:</strong></h2> <p>Caitlin Donaldson, 0428 389 880</p> <p>Dean Shachar, 0418 202 860</p> McCormack Speech - Regional and Rural Budget 2021 Address Changes to support NIRC Public Inquiry https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/marino/media-release/changes-support-nirc-public-inquiry <p>Yesterday (12 May 2021), I made rules to amend the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) (NI) to support the operation of the current independent public inquiry into the Norfolk Island Regional Council.  </p> <p>The rules provide for minor technical changes to the Local Government Act and make it clear that the independent inquiry Commissioner can perform activities and gather information from locations outside of Norfolk Island. </p> <p>The Norfolk Island Applied Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 1) Rules 2021 are made under section 7 of the Norfolk Island Applied Laws Ordinance 2016 and will take affect from the date of registration.</p> Marino Changes to support NIRC Public Inquiry Budget 2021-22: Councils reap rewards with extra $1 billion in funding https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/budget-2021-22-councils-reap-rewards-extra-1-billion-funding <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The economic recovery partnership between the Federal Government and local councils has been further boosted in the 2021-22 Federal Budget, with an additional $1 billion investment in the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The Morrison-McCormack Government is partnering with local governments through a third phase of the LRCI Program to deliver community infrastructure and boost local jobs, supporting Australia’s recovery</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said this brought the total Australian Government commitment to the strongly supported and highly successful LRCI Program to $2.5 billion.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This is fantastic news for local councils across Australia, which will be able to access additional funding to deliver priority local road and community infrastructure projects,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This is all about supporting the resilience of local economies by delivering even more jobs to help communities bounce back from COVID-19, with the additional funding and a longer delivery window to provide greater flexibility for communities to address local priorities.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“A broader range of projects will now be eligible for funding under the LRCI, enabling local governments to pursue larger, more complex developments to deliver even greater benefits for their communities.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Across the nation, councils have already nominated more than 5,000 projects over the first two phases of the LRCI Program, with more than 2,000 projects complete or under construction.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Minister for Local Government, Mark Coulton said The Nationals understood local governments played a critical role in delivering vital services for the communities they serve.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The LRCI program has proven to be a huge success for our regions, councils and communities and mayors across Australia have appreciated both rounds of the program,” Minister Coulton said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The take up rate of the LRCI is testament to the success of the program, delivering thousands of projects including upgrades to local roads, bike paths, community halls, playgrounds, parks and sports facilities, as well as improved accessibility to public facilities.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The consensus from local councils is that the program has been instrumental in delivering projects that they would otherwise be unable to pursue, either at all or in a reasonable timeframe.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The Federal Government is also supporting local government by pre-paying $1.3 billion – 50 per cent of the 2021–22 Financial Assistance Grant funding.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This cash injection of LRCI and Financial Assistance Grants will give councils quicker access to these funds to assist with getting on top of a backlog of important local infrastructure projects, as many continue to recover from the impacts of drought, bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic."</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Councils will be able to access funding for LRCI Phase 3 from 31 January 2022, with the program extended until 30 June 2023.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">For more information, visit the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications <a href="https://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure_investment/local-roads-community-infrastructure-program/index.aspx">website</a>.</p> <h2 class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Dean Shachar 0418 202 860 | Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Minister Coulton – Steph Nicholls 0417 314 920</p> McCormack Budget 2021-22: Councils reap rewards with extra $1 billion in funding Budget 2021-22: Councils reap rewards with extra $1 billion in funding https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/media-release/budget-2021-22-councils-reap-rewards-extra-1-billion-funding <p>The economic recovery partnership between the Federal Government and local councils has been further boosted in the 2021-22 Federal Budget, with an additional $1 billion investment in the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program.</p> <p>The Morrison-McCormack Government is partnering with local governments through a third phase of the LRCI Program to deliver community infrastructure and boost local jobs, supporting Australia’s recovery</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said this brought the total Australian Government commitment to the strongly supported and highly successful LRCI Program to $2.5 billion.</p> <p>“This is fantastic news for local councils across Australia, which will be able to access additional funding to deliver priority local road and community infrastructure projects,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“This is all about supporting the resilience of local economies by delivering even more jobs to help communities bounce back from COVID-19, with the additional funding and a longer delivery window to provide greater flexibility for communities to address local priorities.</p> <p>“A broader range of projects will now be eligible for funding under the LRCI, enabling local governments to pursue larger, more complex developments to deliver even greater benefits for their communities.”</p> <p>Across the nation, councils have already nominated more than 5,000 projects over the first two phases of the LRCI Program, with more than 2,000 projects complete or under construction.</p> <p>Minister for Local Government, Mark Coulton said The Nationals understood local governments played a critical role in delivering vital services for the communities they serve.</p> <p>“The LRCI program has proven to be a huge success for our regions, councils and communities and mayors across Australia have appreciated both rounds of the program,” Minister Coulton said.</p> <p>“The take up rate of the LRCI is testament to the success of the program, delivering thousands of projects including upgrades to local roads, bike paths, community halls, playgrounds, parks and sports facilities, as well as improved accessibility to public facilities.</p> <p>“The consensus from local councils is that the program has been instrumental in delivering projects that they would otherwise be unable to pursue, either at all or in a reasonable timeframe.”</p> <p>The Federal Government is also supporting local government by pre-paying $1.3 billion – 50 per cent of the 2021–22 Financial Assistance Grant funding.</p> <p>“This cash injection of LRCI and Financial Assistance Grants will give councils quicker access to these funds to assist with getting on top of a backlog of important local infrastructure projects, as many continue to recover from the impacts of drought, bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic."</p> <p>Councils will be able to access funding for LRCI Phase 3 from 31 January 2022, with the program extended until 30 June 2023.</p> <p>For more information, visit the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications <a href="https://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure_investment/local-roads-community-infrastructure-program/index.aspx">website</a>.</p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Dean Shachar 0418 202 860 | Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p>Minister Coulton – Steph Nicholls 0417 314 920</p> Coulton Budget 2021-22: Councils reap rewards with extra $1 billion in funding Budget 2021-22: Delivering Australia's water future https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/budget-2021-22-delivering-australias-water-future <p>The Government is continuing to deliver on a National Water Grid to help improve water security in our regions.</p> <p>The 2021-22 Budget invests up to a further $258 million, including up to $160 million through the National Water Grid Connections pathway, from the $3.5 billion National Water Grid Fund towards the construction of new and augmented water infrastructure projects, building a more resilient and secure Australia.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Federal Government was investing $75.7 million towards an additional four new construction projects.</p> <p>“This will deliver increased water security, build resilience in our regions, deliver jobs and grow our critical agriculture sector,” the Deputy Prime Minister said. </p> <p>“This ongoing investment in water infrastructure builds on the eight construction projects already completed since our establishment of the National Water Grid Authority in late 2019, bringing the total number of construction projects in the investment pipeline to 30.”</p> <p>The new and augmented construction projects being funded in partnership with states include:</p> <ul> <li>Eurobodalla Southern Storage (New South Wales) – $51.2 million.</li> <li>Werribee Irrigation District Modernisation (Victoria) – $11.0 million.</li> <li>Recycled Water on the Bellarine (Victoria) – $5.5 million.</li> <li>Warwick Recycled Water for Agriculture (Queensland) – $0.5 million.</li> <li>An additional $7.5 million for Rookwood Weir ($183.6 million in total) to enhance our existing investment in delivering water security in north Queensland by raising the weir wall a further 700 millimetres, which will yield an additional 10,000 megalitres of water.</li> </ul> <p>This builds on recent announcements, including $22.3 million towards the development of eight business cases for water infrastructure projects, as well as a new funding pathway, the National Water Grid Connections, which will drive the construction of smaller-scale projects over the next two years.</p> <p>The Deputy Prime Minister said the 2021-22 Budget would continue to help increase water security in areas where extensive irrigated agriculture already exists, while also helping to unlock new agricultural regions, especially in Australia’s north.</p> <p>“We are delivering on building bigger water infrastructure and we will also deliver on the smaller scale infrastructure projects which promote local economic activity and job creation,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“This is building on progress already underway right across Australia with projects such as Rookwood Weir construction and Urannah Dam business case in Queensland; the commencement of the Phase 2 of the Macalister Irrigation District modernisation project in Victoria and the completion of the business case for the Don Irrigation Scheme in Tasmania.”</p> <p>The Australian Government’s National Water Grid Investment Framework is supporting the development of a long-term pipeline of nationally important water infrastructure investments, backed by the world’s best science.</p> <p>For further information, please visit <a href="http://www.nationalwatergrid.gov.au">www.nationalwatergrid.gov.au</a>.</p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Dean Shachar 0418 202 860 | Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> McCormack Budget 2021-22: Delivering Australia's water future Australia to expand marine parks https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/marino/media-release/australia-expand-marine-parks <p>The Morrison Government is moving to secure the future of one of our last ‘untouched’ marine environments with plans to establish two new Marine Parks, covering up to 740,000 square kilometres of waters around Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling Islands).</p> <p>Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley will open consultation with Island communities and the commercial fishing industry to establish a Marine Park Area (MPA) larger than that of the Great Barrier Reef (348, 000 km<sup>2</sup>) and second only to the Coral Sea (989,000 km<sup>2</sup>).</p> <p>“This is an international marine treasure on Australia’s doorstep, one that is from a scientific perspective relatively undisturbed and undiscovered,” she said.</p> <p>“The Christmas and Cocos Islands boast some of the most fascinating and unique ecosystems on earth and this is about extending that protection to the surrounding waters of the Indian Ocean.</p> <p>“We know that this is a critical area for spawning blue fin tuna and, while we are yet to unlock its many other secrets, it is important that we protect the ocean’s unique habitats and the species that rely on them.</p> <p>“Establishing an MPA would support ocean health, scientific research and the ‘blue economy’ we all depend on, while at the same time providing greater protection from illegal international fishing operations.</p> <p>“It would play an important strategic role in strengthening Australia’s network of Marine Parks, already among the world’s largest, and lift the percentage of protected Australian waters from 37 percent to up to 45 percent.</p> <p>“As part of our $100 million Oceans Leadership package, the Morrison Government will commit $5.4 million towards supporting local jobs and economic growth associated with the new marine park.”</p> <p class="AreaFinalParaAssistantTreasurer">Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, Nola Marino said that it was important Commonwealth national parks agency, Parks Australia, work with local community groups, industry and stakeholders to design and shape the future of Indian Ocean Territory marine parks.</p> <p class="AreaFinalParaAssistantTreasurer">“With the existing Christmas Island National Park covering 63 percent of the island and with the Pulu-Keeling National Park’s headquarters on the Cocos Islands, Parks Australia is already an important presence in the Indian Ocean Territories, and an integral part of the local island community fabric,” Assistant Minister Marino said.</p> <p>“Putting the views and aspirations of marine users – especially the Christmas and Cocos Island communities – at the forefront of the process to design these marine parks and manage them into the future is essential.</p> <p>“We will look to ensure a balanced outcome that conserves our natural habitat, encourages sustainable use of the waters, promotes eco-tourism and research and helps stimulate the regional economy.”</p> <p>Discussions with stakeholders on the new marine parks will begin immediately, and all Australians will have the opportunity to provide their views on the proposal through formal statutory consultations in the second half of 2021.   For more information, contact: <a href="mailto:marineparks@awe.gov.au">marineparks@awe.gov.au</a></p> <h2>Media Contacts:</h2> <p><strong>Minister Ley: </strong>John Brady 0427 867 638<strong>; </strong>Ben Flores 0448 463 094</p> <p><strong>Assistant Minister Marino: </strong>Sophie Beeton: 0439448321</p> Marino Australia to expand marine parks Transcript - Interview on Sounds of the Mountains radio https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/interview/transcript-interview-sounds-mountains-radio <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">We’re very fortunate each fortnight to catch up and have a chat with the Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the Nationals. Michael McCormack joins us. Minister McCormack, thank you very much for your time today.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Not a problem at all, Dave.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Well, of course,<strong> </strong>well, last night a big last few months for Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, of course, presenting and handing down the Federal Budget last night and we were talking offline there, we always get lots of press releases through media monitors, all people, Medianet and everyone else, but no less than about 40 different press releases, Michael. And most of them are coming through with fairly positive stories, which is a really – you don’t see that very often.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">That’s tremendous, yes, I know people are acknowledging the fact that it is a very good Budget. It’s a Budget for today and into the future. It’s a Budget that is necessary, very timely given the shocks that the economy has taken, because of coronavirus. And of course, that came on the back of drought, bushfires, in some areas flooding. It’s been a trying and testing and challenging time for our nation and particularly our regional areas, but they have responded very well and last night’s Budget rewards small business, rewards families, rewards all sectors of the economy and continues to make sure that we have put those investments in place so that we can recover from coronavirus and secure that recovery.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">The deficit is something that has quite amazed a lot of the media in the sense that it is not as large as we thought it was going to be last night, which is a really good news story.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">That is a good news story and even more importantly, perhaps as a result of that and you know, helping that exact process along is the fact that there are more people in work now, up to 13.1 million, than there were pre-pandemic and that is quite astonishing. That is the envy of the world, quite frankly, the fact that more people have a job now than they did prior to this virus reaching our shores.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">If you look at people watching the Budget on ABC last night and the live telecast out of Parliament House, the lady that goes down and pops to Inside Out to buy a candle or whatever it might be, goes up, rides the Tumba-trail, they’re saying to us, “What’s in it for me?” We hear the media talking about all these different things to do with the Budget and we talk about jobs and security and everything else, but when I go shopping today – and one of the big questions people ask to keep them obviously focused on what it is in full, what is it for the man on the street? What happens there, Michael? What is the story?</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">The man and woman on the street, they’re going to get tax breaks. So, a person earning $40,000 will receive $480 back in their tax return. People on, say, $48,000 to $90,000 – and that’s a lot of people – will continue to get the full low and middle-income tax offset, that rebate is $1,080. That’s money in their pocket because we believe that people should keep more of what they earn. Now, if that person has a bit of a problem, aren’t faring well mentally, we are putting a staggering $820 million into the mental health space. I say staggering because that is a big, big number but it is necessary. It is warranted. Only yesterday I read a tragic story, locally, of a young girl – very, very young – who was bullied on social media, felt there was no other way other than to sadly take her own life and we’re seeing these stories all too often, Dave. Everybody gets touched by someone they know or someone they love or someone they work with who, for them, they’ve reached that despairing situation where they just don’t know where to turn. So, what we’re putting in place is more than 50 Head to Health and Headspace centres around the country and they make such a difference. I know from the Headspaces and the likes that are in my electorate – I know the one that I fought very hard for when I represented Griffith and I know what a difference it made to the Murrumbidgee irrigation area. That’s a very, very good initiative. It’s a personal crusade of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg delivered for that last night.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">One of the big issues that have come out of that obviously is – and, as you mentioned, it’s a personal issue there too with our Prime Minister, could tell that with Minister Frydenberg’s delivery of that particular part of the Budget speech, but one section, Minister, that’s very much interested in what you do is our roads and our funding and our infrastructure. There’s a huge amount, $110 billion heading all over the country.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">There certainly is and for your local listeners, they’ll be particularly pleased to know that Snowy Valleys Council will get an additional $1.74 million as part of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program. Towong Shire, because I know there’s many people in the Upper Murray who listen, they’re getting as part of this Budget, $2.3 million. And you and I know, because we travel on those roads regularly and so do your listeners, that those country roads, some of them just needing bitumen for the first time, many of them needing shoulder widening, they’re going to get that money. It’s going to be allocated by their councils, but perhaps just as importantly there’s another $1 billion in the Road Safety Upgrade Program. There’s going to be rumble strips and separations as far as median strips and all those sorts of things. They’re only little, but you’ve seen them being rolled out in recent weeks and months and I tell you what, they save lives.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">They do. One of the big things you and I have talked about quite often is people moving from the cities to the regional areas, but across the whole board, whether it’s metro or regional areas, is job security and that was one of the features there that Josh Frydenberg was mentioning in there. What are we doing for job security, Michael? In this process moving forward and we talk about the benefits and so forth, we look at employment, housing’s gone up <strong>– </strong>there were some great graphs. ABC, last night they went for hours after the Budget and did some wonderful reporting, as they do and one of those big graphs, they showed that as some of the prices go up and rental and property values<strong>,</strong> wage increases haven’t been coming up very often.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Well, we believe that the best form of welfare is a job and that’s why we’ve put in the measures to make sure that people are in jobs. As we know, there are 66,000 jobs in regional Australia right now and I promote that every day. Every time I get into a national media interview, I promote it. We are putting $124.7 million into the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement as part of the Budget. We are making sure that small business, which is the driver and engine room of so much in our economy, that they are able to have that instant asset write-off extended by another 12 months. That will apply to just about every one of the businesses across the nation apart from about 60, which have a turnover of $5 billion, but for every other business, they can buy capital equipment and write it off in the year of purchase. Whether that’s a ute, whether that’s a truck, whether that’s a header, a harvester, whatever the case might be, right down to small equipment within an office situation, that is a game-changer for those small businesses and it’s small business that actually employs <strong>– </strong>it’s the private sector which employs eight of 10 workers in the Australian economy. So that is going to keep people in jobs and that is going to make job security even stronger into the future.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">And of course, we talked Michael, from your portfolio our airports are receiving a fair bit of money, we’re talking about international borders and a lot of discussion there. We won’t see huge improvement until those borders open. What’s your thoughts there with that? There’s a lot of money being poured into it.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">We’ve taken a conservative estimate as to when the international borders will open. Of course, we’re rolling out the vaccine, as other countries do the same, we’ll get those border bubbles, those travel free bubbles set up. We’ll establish them with perhaps Singapore, South Korea, Japan, some islands in the Pacific, but we’ll do it based on the best possible medical advice. That’s what we’ve done the whole way through. That’s what we’ll continue to do. But we’ve also put on another 120 or so repatriation flights, government-facilitated flights, so that 17,000 Australians can return over the next 12 months. We’ve made sure that we have done that the whole way through ever since the Prime Minister urged and encouraged Australians on March 13 last year to find their way home, to get home. Of course, there are commercial options available too, but in cases where there are vulnerable Australians, in cases where it is difficult for commercial airlines to fly into various centres, we will make sure that the Government helps and supports those stranded Aussies who are overseas.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">From a regional level with airports, Minister?</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Well, there’s those ongoing programs as far as airport upgrades and I know how pleased that Tumut, the Mayor there, James Hayes, was for the upgrade that we gave to that particular facility. John Larter in particular was very happy because he knew, being an emergency worker, a first responder, what a difference that would make for when you do have situations when you do have bushfires, when you do need to get an emergency medivac in and I know how pleased those residents of Tumut were about that, but not just Tumut, but the entire Snowy Valleys Council.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">A big problem there, as we talked a lot about during the bushfires, was the fact that we were taking off and landing planes with just a bit of their capacity on board with retardant and that was because the planes were too heavy. Part of this upgrade will be to make sure that that can happen, a bit like out at Temora when they upgraded the airport. That is a museum, but it is also if there is a big fire out at Temora, we know we can put big planes down out there and the same will eventually happen from a regional point of view. It’s not just Tumut, the airport may be based there, but it’s not just in that area. They’re a very crucial piece of infrastructure, aren’t they?</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">They are and towns the size of Tumut and Temora, they need good airports. It’s the gateway for tourism, but it’s also very, very important when you do have a crisis and you need to get people in, to get freight in. Indeed, during coronavirus, it’s very important that you need to get face masks, respiratory devices and front-line medical personnel in and that’s why the aviation assistance continues. We’ve provided $2.1 billion of additional assistance. That takes the amount of money we’ve put into aviation for all sorts of measures up to $4.5 billion. We’ll continue to do that. We’ll continue to monitor the situation because aviation was hit first, hit hardest, but I tell you what, our country communities rely on those services and for many of those particularly, remote country towns and even some that are rural, but a long way from anywhere, but for that assistance, they would not have seen a plane for probably the past 15 months.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">That was going to be my next question, the ongoing costs involved in the upkeep. We’re seeing that at a state level. A lot of discussion about that with mergers and so forth that are on at the moment. Minister, the ongoing costs are the one thing that is going to be affecting from a local government point of view as well. That will be something that the Federal Government will be keeping a very close eye on, no doubt.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Indeed and I’ve got every confidence that Australia will make sure that we grow the economy. Agriculture will play a part indeed, as the resources sector will. Both those sectors mentioned have actually grown over the past two years, despite coming off the back of a crippling drought, despite the fact that there is an uncertain overseas market at the moment for, not just resources, but for all goods. But let me tell you, Australia’s food and fibre, Australia’s resources, are the best in the world and the rest of the world wants and needs our goods. And we all know that trade equals jobs and more trade equals more jobs and that’s why I know my good mate Dan Tehan is out there selling Australia at the moment, indeed our good wares, he was in the UK just recently doing that.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">How does a small local government area pay though, Michael? How does that work when you look at the issues facing <strong>– </strong>again it’s a state issue when we talk about the merged council areas, but there’s those ongoing costs and huge costs in there. The more infrastructure we see in the regional areas, the more we have to find in the Budget, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years down the track.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">I appreciate it is very difficult for councils such as Towong Council, such as Snowy Valleys, with a small rate base to pay for the things such as roads and other services, amenities that they need to, and that’s why I’ve made sure that – well, in Snowy Valleys’ case, I say again, $1.7 million, that’s on top of the Phase 1 money. They got $871,000, they get another $961,000 top-up. That brings their total to $3.5 million. That’s the Snowy Valleys and Towong is doing very nicely too. They’ve got $4.4 million as part of that Local Roads and Community Infrastructure and they get to decide where they are going to spend that. On top of that of course, there’s another round of the Building Better Regions Fund but this time I’ve extended it to a $250 million. Round 5 at the moment, the applications are in and they’re being sorted at the moment. That was worth $200 million with a $100 million tourism component, but the next round, $250 million and I would invite very much those applications from Towong, Snowy Valleys and other councils to get involved and to get the community infrastructure and indeed all the things that their community is looking to brighten up their places. And of course, then you’ve got so many more people holidaying at home because they can’t go to overseas destinations and so that will help places like Tumut and others, which have a lot to offer.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Minister, we’re out of time, I know you’re on a strict time. It’s going to be a very busy day as Deputy Prime Minister today and of course, not even 24 hours after the Budget announcement. Anything you would like to add while we’re chatting before we head off?</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Just a final word. Thank you to everybody listening for being your best self during coronavirus. It’s been difficult and people have had to wear masks. It’s been very difficult because we understand that coronavirus for some of the country communities that you and I get involved in, they haven’t had a coronavirus case for many months, if at all and yet they’ve still been required to wear the masks and do all the social distancing, so that’s been very difficult. But they’ve kept their community safe. They’ve done the right thing. We’ve all listened to the best possible medical advice and we need to continue to do that and to be patient, but let me tell you, we have put our faith, our stock, in people’s resilience and people’s ability to get on with their lives under challenging circumstances and there’s plenty of opportunities and investment in this Budget to ensure that Australia gets its way out of this and continues to be the best country in the whole world in which to live and of course, regional Australia is no better place in which to live.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Isn’t that the truth? Minister McCormack, thank you very much for taking your time out of an already very busy morning for you this morning with lots of media commitments. Really appreciate your time. We’ll catch up in a couple of weeks, yes?</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Any time at all. Thanks, Dave. For sure.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>DAVID EISENHAUER</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Of course, talking with Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the Nationals, Michael McCormack there joining us and of course, a regular guest who will be back in a couple of weeks.</p> <h2 class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>Media contacts: </strong></h2> <p>Caitlin Donaldson, 0428 389 880</p> <p>Dean Shachar, 0418 202 860</p> McCormack Transcript - Interview on Sounds of the Mountains radio Budget 2021-22: Strengthening our regions through continued investment https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/budget-2021-22-strengthening-our-regions-through-continued-investment <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">A significant investment package sees the 2021-22 Budget continue to build a strong regional Australia through extensions to community grants programs that invest directly in economic and social infrastructure.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Liberal and Nationals Government is committed to creating jobs and building stronger regional communities.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This Budget’s investment in our regions is headlined by an additional $250 million for a sixth round of the successful Building Better Regions Fund.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This builds on more than $1 billion already committed to our regional towns and cities from the Fund, which supports regional and remote communities by funding investment-ready infrastructure projects that will create jobs and drive economic growth.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“We are building strong and resilient communities, as well as helping create local jobs, by investing in projects across Australia which drive our regional economies.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories Nola Marino said the Government will also provide more than $5.7 million of grant funding in the 2021-22 Budget to deliver a new Rebuilding Regional Communities Program in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This program will provide micro-grants to grassroots community organisations to assist communities in their recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Assistant Minister Marino said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Community groups play a critical role in supporting and sustaining local regional communities and these grants will help local groups restart activities and avoid lasting loss to the social fabric of regional towns.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The regions will also heavily benefit from the Government’s now $3 billion Road Safety Program, aimed squarely at delivering lifesaving road safety treatments on rural and regional roads and providing better protections for vulnerable road users.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">For more information on regional investments in the 2021-22 Federal Budget, visit <a href="https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/department/statements/index.aspx">www.infrastructure.gov.au/department/statements/index.aspx</a>.</p> <h2 class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Dean Shachar 0418 202 860 | Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Assistant Minister Marino – Rob Terrill 02 6277 4293</p> McCormack Budget 2021-22: Strengthening our regions through continued investment Budget 2021-22: Continued investment securing a strong, sustainable and competitive aviation industry https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/budget-2021-22-continued-investment-securing-strong-sustainable-and-competitive-aviation-industry <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The 2021 ̶-22 Federal Budget locks in record support for the aviation industry, backing the sector to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Budget also pursued initiatives and policy measures to ensure Australia’s aviation industry thrives across domestic and international markets.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The Liberal and Nationals Government has supported the sector through the worst of the pandemic by guaranteeing minimum connectivity, particularly to regional communities, through our Domestic and Regional Network Support programs, RANS and DANS,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“We know that planes in the air mean jobs on the ground, including in the tourism industry, which has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19 pandemic and that’s why we’ve invested so heavily to support our local industries.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“We are also laying the foundations for new jobs and aviation services with the release of the National Emerging Aviation Technologies (NEAT) Policy Statement.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Hogan said the Government would release a Five Year Plan for Aviation later in the year to chart a course for aviation from response, through recovery, to repositioning the sector for the long term.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The Government will support individuals and businesses to harness the opportunities offered by digital aviation technologies such as drones, advanced air mobility (AAM) and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles,” Assistant Minister Hogan said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“I am also particularly pleased our investments in aviation are proving enormously successful in driving tourism demand for interstate travel, supporting jobs and having an economic multiplier effect, as travellers spend money on accommodation, food and activities in local regions.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Importantly, the Government has also acted quickly to subsidise fixed costs associated with fuel excise, domestic security, Airservices Australia charges and Ex-Gratia Land Tax.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">For more information, visit <a href="http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/aviation">www.infrastructure.gov.au/aviation</a>.</p> <h2 class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Dean Shachar 0418 202 860 | Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Assistant Minister Hogan – Dylan Butcher 0411 822 990</p> McCormack Budget 2021-22: Continued investment securing a strong, sustainable and competitive aviation industry Budget 2021-22: Federal Government expands life-saving road safety investment https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/budget-2021-22-federal-government-expands-life-saving-road-safety-investment <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The Federal Budget commits an additional $1 billion to the Road Safety Program, as part of the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to improving road safety and getting Australians home sooner sand safer.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the $1 billion funding injection will back two additional six-month tranches, extending the program from June 2022 to June 2023.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This investment builds on the previous $2 billion over 18 months announced for the Road Safety Program as part of last year’s Budget, as well as the $500 million Targeted Road Safety Works initiative announced in June 2020,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Now totalling $3 billion, the Road Safety Program continues our commitment to reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads, because we know one death or serious injury is one too many.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“To date, the Road Safety Program has seen almost $1 billion delivered through tranche 1 for nearly 700 road safety projects due for completion by June this year.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This investment will see 6,000 kilometres of road upgraded and is expected to support thousands of jobs, further supporting Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said this additional $1 billion investment would support further tranches of the program.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“The Road Safety Program is aimed at delivering lifesaving road safety upgrades on rural and regional roads and providing better protections for vulnerable road users,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“We are funding crucial upgrades to state highways and arterial roads through the application of road safety improvements including shoulder sealing and the installation of rumble strips, to support the safe return of vehicles from the shoulder into the travel lane; physical barriers to prevent run off road crashes and median treatments to prevent head-on vehicle collisions.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“Vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians in urban areas will be better protected through road safety upgrades to include traffic calming, separated cycleways and installing raised pedestrian crossings.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">“This investment complements a suite of other Australian Government initiatives such as investment in driver reviver upgrades, innovative road safety technologies and education campaigns.”</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Under the Road Safety Program all states and territories receive a notional allocation of funding under a “use it or lose it” provision.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">States and territories are required to use their funding within each six-month tranche in order to receive their full allocation of funding for the next tranche.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">The resulting unallocated funds will be placed in a pool, with jurisdictions which spend their allocation able to seek further funds from this pool.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">As a condition of funding, States and Territories are also required to provide road safety data to the Federal Government.</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">For more information on the Australian Government’s road safety initiatives, visit <a href="http://www.officeofroadsafety.gov.au">www.officeofroadsafety.gov.au</a>.</p> <h2 class="BoswellMediaHeader"><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Deputy Prime Minister – Dean Shachar 0418 202 860 | Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p class="BoswellMediaHeader">Assistant Minister Buchholz – Scott O’Connell 0413 424 384</p> McCormack Budget 2021-22: Federal Government expands life-saving road safety investment Transcript - Interview on Triple M Riverina https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/interview/transcript-interview-triple-m-riverina-1 <p class="CxSpFirst"><strong>8:13AM</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>POPPY PENNY</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Yesterday we saw the handing down of the Federal Budget from the Treasurer and with us this morning to unpack all things Federal Budget and how it’s going to affect us is Deputy Prime Minister and Member for the Riverina, Michael McCormack, good morning.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Good morning, Poppy and Leigh and one person who was not dancing in the dark last night was Josh Frydenberg. What a Budget! Received such good reaction to it from – even from quarters that you wouldn’t expect would be backing in a Coalition Budget, but they have been this morning. It’s a very, very good Budget, not only for the nation but especially the regions.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>POPPY PENNY</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">So run us through how it is going to impact the regions, particularly regional New South Wales.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, what it’s going to do, it’s going to absolutely help local government areas such as Wagga Wagga. So, there’s going to be an additional $4 million for roads money going into that Local Roads and Community Infrastructure. So, that is going to be such a game‑changer for the council – already received a significant amount of money via that program. And for other shires within the region which have received around $27 million, well, there’s another $27 million as part of that program. So that’s going to be so good. It’s going to put bitumen down on roads that perhaps never had paving or never had any cement truck ever visit them. So that’s going to be good.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Also, there’s another $1 billion for road safety upgrades. So, whether there’s rumble strips, whether there’s those audio tactile, little things that you hit when you’re driving along and you all of a sudden realise that you’re not in your lane. I’ve been through all the Riverina and Central West lately and I’ve seen them out installing those. That’s going to be such a game‑changer.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">But there’s tax breaks, of course, for the lower and middle‑income tax offset. That’s going to be maintained – it was due to expire. So, a person earning $40,000 is going to get $480 back in their tax return. People between $48,000 and $90,000 will continue to get that full rebate of $1,080 because we believe – I believe – that if you earn that money, more of it should be in your pocket, not coming to Canberra. So, we want people to be able to utilise and use more of the money they earn.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">But also, I’m really pleased that there’s a good, very substantial mental health investment in the nation, $820 million that’s going to facilitate and fund an additional 57 centres – 57 Headspaces or Head to Health facilities. That will also be a great thing and particularly for regional Australia and we’re all too often see very, very sad stories of people who don’t know where to turn and you know, they’re so despairing they just don’t know where to put their cries of help. Of course, there’s always been those services, but we’re going to boost those services and we’re going to add to that vital sector.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>LEIGH RYAN</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Michael, there’s been some assumptions made in the Budget that – I just want to get your level of confidence as to how they’re going, in terms of having the Australian population vaccinated and internal borders remaining open and also around wage growth, which has sort of underperformed Budget expectations for about the last seven years or so. How do you reckon that we’re going to go compared to those measures to allow this Budget to flourish as it should?</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, we’ve put in place conservative estimates as to when the borders will reopen and who knows when that’s going to be. We’re not certainly out of this global pandemic yet and we won’t be for some significant time. So there’s no point basing a Budget on early border re-openings, because that’s probably just not going to happen, given the situation in India, given the situation in Africa, given the situation in indeed, many of those countries which have had very, very good health systems, such as in Europe and such as in the Americas – Canada and the United States – where they are increasing taxes to pay for vaccinations, to pay for what they’re trying to get their economies back on track. But unlike those countries, Australia has actually now got more people in employment than we had pre‑pandemic. So, there’s up to 13.1 million Australians actually in a job now, whereas before it was only around 13 million Australians in work. So, that is the envy of the world.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Yes, the vaccine – we’re rolling it out. I appreciate that for some reasons and delays in getting some of the vaccines from overseas, the vaccination roll out hasn’t been as quick as some would have liked, but rest assured there’s nearly 3 million Australians, or approaching that number, who have now had their jab. And we urge and encourage Australians, when they’re eligible to get that poke in the arm, that they do it. And as more vaccinations roll out across the world and as more countries come online in that regard, we’ll do what we’ve done with New Zealand, we’ll put in place a bubble so that Australians and New Zealanders and people from Singapore or Japan or South Korea, wherever the case might be, can freely travel between the countries. But until then, we’ll keep Australians safe. We’ll do what we’ve always done right throughout the pandemic and follow the best possible medical advice to the letter and make sure that we keep Australians safe.</p> <p class="CxSpFirst"><strong>LEIGH RYAN</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Chatting with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack this morning.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>POPPY PENNY</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Michael, very quickly, one of the sectors that really struggled throughout the pandemic due to the loss of international arrivals and in this case international students, are universities. There’s no specific funding in this Budget for universities. Is there a plan in place to support them? Because we’ve seen locally, CSU in Wagga have had to lay off a large number of staff, their key staff members, lecturers, support people, administration staff. What plan is in place to support universities, because they have really struggled?</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="CxSpMiddle">Well, indeed I only stood with David Littleproud at Charles Sturt University there the other day and announced millions of dollars – up to $8 million for a Drought Resilience Agricultural Hub to even further boost their offerings in that regard. We’ve brought down the cost of an agricultural degree by 59 per cent, or around that figure. So, we were encouraging people to take those university places, because I want more regional people – young people – to come home. I want a lot more regional people to indeed stay and have that confidence in their own universities, in their own tertiary institutions, to be able to stay in their locations, in their home locations and not have to go to a sandstone university in a far‑off capital city. So, I’m confident that universities such as Charles Sturt, yes, of course they’ve suffered by not having international students, but we will continue to back them. We’ll continue to back them with record investment. And Charles Sturt University is very strong. I spoke to Fiona Nash, their Government Relations person, only yesterday about what we can do in the future, messaged her about where we can go in the future and I know Charles Sturt University will always have a strong future.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>POPPY PENNY</strong></p> <p class="CxSpFirst">For non‑agricultural degrees, obviously dropping the course fees for those is fantastic, but for students who want to study something like nursing or teaching or psychology, we’ve lost a lot of staff that actually teach those subjects. Is there a plan to support the university to re‑implement those courses so that students can study on campus again? Because at the moment so many of the enrolments are online only.</p> <p class="CxSpMiddle"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">I appreciate that and look, these are difficult and challenging times. So, as I say, we will continue our record investment in the tertiary sector. We’re not going to be able to provide everything that’s going to make everybody happy, but we’ve looked at every sector of the economy, we’ve put investment into it either in the Budget that was handed down in October, or last night and we will continue to do that because – and I certainly will, because I’ve got a $110 billion infrastructure Budget and I want to make sure that of the 100,000 workers it already supports and the 30,000 additional workers that it will support going ahead from last night’s Budget, that people have the best roads on which to drive, that they have the best amenities and facilities and that they fully appreciate that they are living in the best place in all of the world and that is the Riverina and that is regional Australia and we’ll go ahead from that.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>LEIGH RYAN</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Very quickly before we let you go, some really pleasing stuff out of the Budget last night for women and for aged care following that royal commission. Can you just give us a couple of quick details and bullet points on that?</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Yes, $17.7 billion going into the aged care sector, a significantly boosted number of home care places, 80,000 in that regard. Certainly, for women’s safety there’s a big investment, as there needs to be more of those refuges. We’re going to make sure that those women who are vulnerable, who are facing a domestic violence situation and sadly that’s about one in four across the span of their lives, that they are protected and that they do have the resources available when they need it the most.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>POPPY PENNY</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Member for the Riverina and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, thank you so much for your time this morning and giving us a bit of unpacking of the Budget. It can be a very overwhelming night for everybody and I imagine that you are very tired and ready to move on from the Budget. Thanks so much for your time.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">No, I’m not ready to move on, but we’ll keep out there, talking about it and making sure that people know that there’s something in there for them. Thank you, Poppy. Thank you, Leigh.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>LEIGH RYAN</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Always a pleasure.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>POPPY PENNY</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">You can enjoy a 400<sup>th</sup> coffee for the day.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>MICHAEL McCORMACK</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">No worries at all.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>LEIGH RYAN</strong></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister, on the Riverina’s Triple M.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>ENDS 8:22AM</strong></p> <h2 class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>Media contacts: </strong></h2> <p>Caitlin Donaldson, 0428 389 880</p> <p>Dean Shachar, 0418 202 860</p> McCormack Transcript - Interview on Triple M Riverina Budget 2021-22: Strengthening our regions through continued investment https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/marino/media-release/budget-2021-22-strengthening-our-regions-through-continued-investment <p>A significant investment package sees the 2021-22 Budget continue to build a strong regional Australia through extensions to community grants programs that invest directly in economic and social infrastructure.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Liberal and Nationals Government is committed to creating jobs and building stronger regional communities.</p> <p>“This Budget’s investment in our regions is headlined by an additional $250 million for a sixth round of the successful Building Better Regions Fund.</p> <p>“This builds on more than $1 billion already committed to our regional towns and cities from the Fund, which supports regional and remote communities by funding investment-ready infrastructure projects that will create jobs and drive economic growth.</p> <p>“We are building strong and resilient communities, as well as helping create local jobs, by investing in projects across Australia which drive our regional economies.”</p> <p>Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories Nola Marino said the Government will also provide more than $5.7 million of grant funding in the 2021-22 Budget to deliver a new Rebuilding Regional Communities Program in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.</p> <p>“This program will provide micro-grants to grassroots community organisations to assist communities in their recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Assistant Minister Marino said.</p> <p>“Community groups play a critical role in supporting and sustaining local regional communities and these grants will help local groups restart activities and avoid lasting loss to the social fabric of regional towns.</p> <p>“The regions will also heavily benefit from the Government’s now $3 billion Road Safety Program, aimed squarely at delivering lifesaving road safety treatments on rural and regional roads and providing better protections for vulnerable road users.”</p> <p>For more information on regional investments in the 2021-22 Federal Budget, visit <a href="https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/department/statements/index.aspx">www.infrastructure.gov.au/department/statements/index.aspx</a>.</p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Dean Shachar 0418 202 860 | Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p>Assistant Minister Marino – Rob Terrill 02 6277 4293</p> Marino Budget 2021-22: Strengthening our regions through continued investment Budget 2021-22: Continued investment securing a strong, sustainable and competitive aviation industry https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/hogan/media-release/budget-2021-22-continued-investment-securing-strong-sustainable-and-competitive-aviation-industry <p>The 2021-22 Federal Budget locks in record support for the aviation industry, backing the sector to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Budget also pursued initiatives and policy measures to ensure Australia’s aviation industry thrives across domestic and international markets.</p> <p>“The Liberal and Nationals Government has supported the sector through the worst of the pandemic by guaranteeing minimum connectivity, particularly to regional communities, through our Domestic and Regional Network Support programs, RANS and DANS,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“We know that planes in the air mean jobs on the ground, including in the tourism industry, which has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19 pandemic and that’s why we’ve invested so heavily to support our local industries.</p> <p>“We are also laying the foundations for new jobs and aviation services with the release of the National Emerging Aviation Technologies (NEAT) Policy Statement.”</p> <p>Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Hogan said the Government would release a Five Year Plan for Aviation later in the year to chart a course for aviation from response, through recovery, to repositioning the sector for the long term.</p> <p>“The Government will support individuals and businesses to harness the opportunities offered by digital aviation technologies such as drones, advanced air mobility (AAM) and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles,” Assistant Minister Hogan said.</p> <p>“I am also particularly pleased our investments in aviation are proving enormously successful in driving tourism demand for interstate travel, supporting jobs and having an economic multiplier effect, as travellers spend money on accommodation, food and activities in local regions.</p> <p>“Importantly, the Government has also acted quickly to subsidise fixed costs associated with fuel excise, domestic security, Airservices Australia charges and Ex-Gratia Land Tax.”</p> <p>For more information, visit <a href="http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/aviation">www.infrastructure.gov.au/aviation</a>.</p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Dean Shachar 0418 202 860 | Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p>Assistant Minister Hogan – Dylan Butcher 0411 822 990</p> Hogan Budget 2021-22: Continued investment securing a strong, sustainable and competitive aviation industry Budget 2021-22: Federal Government expands life-saving road safety investment https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/buchholz/media-release/budget-2021-22-federal-government-expands-life-saving-road-safety-investment <p>The Federal Budget commits an additional $1 billion to the Road Safety Program, as part of the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to improving road safety and getting Australians home sooner sand safer.</p> <p>Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the $1 billion funding injection will back two additional six-month tranches, extending the program from June 2022 to June 2023.</p> <p>“This investment builds on the previous $2 billion over 18 months announced for the Road Safety Program as part of last year’s Budget, as well as the $500 million Targeted Road Safety Works initiative announced in June 2020,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.</p> <p>“Now totalling $3 billion, the Road Safety Program continues our commitment to reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads, because we know one death or serious injury is one too many.</p> <p>“To date, the Road Safety Program has seen almost $1 billion delivered through tranche 1 for nearly 700 road safety projects due for completion by June this year.</p> <p>“This investment will see 6,000 kilometres of road upgraded and is expected to support thousands of jobs, further supporting Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”</p> <p>Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said this additional $1 billion investment would support further tranches of the program.</p> <p>“The Road Safety Program is aimed at delivering lifesaving road safety upgrades on rural and regional roads and providing better protections for vulnerable road users,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said.</p> <p>“We are funding crucial upgrades to state highways and arterial roads through the application of road safety improvements including shoulder sealing and the installation of rumble strips, to support the safe return of vehicles from the shoulder into the travel lane; physical barriers to prevent run off road crashes and median treatments to prevent head-on vehicle collisions.</p> <p>“Vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians in urban areas will be better protected through road safety upgrades to include traffic calming, separated cycleways and installing raised pedestrian crossings.</p> <p>“This investment complements a suite of other Australian Government initiatives such as investment in driver reviver upgrades, innovative road safety technologies and education campaigns.”</p> <p>Under the Road Safety Program all states and territories receive a notional allocation of funding under a “use it or lose it” provision.</p> <p>States and territories are required to use their funding within each six-month tranche in order to receive their full allocation of funding for the next tranche.</p> <p>The resulting unallocated funds will be placed in a pool, with jurisdictions which spend their allocation able to seek further funds from this pool.</p> <p>As a condition of funding, States and Territories are also required to provide road safety data to the Federal Government.</p> <p>For more information on the Australian Government’s road safety initiatives, visit <a href="http://www.officeofroadsafety.gov.au">www.officeofroadsafety.gov.au</a>.</p> <h2><strong>Media Contact:</strong></h2> <p>Deputy Prime Minister – Dean Shachar 0418 202 860 | Caitlin Donaldson 0428 389 880</p> <p>Assistant Minister Buchholz – Scott O’Connell 0413 424 384</p> Buchholz Budget 2021-22: Federal Government expands life-saving road safety investment Australia’s communications, media and arts sectors helping secure our recovery https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/coulton/media-release/australias-communications-media-and-arts-sectors-helping-secure-our-recovery <p>The Morrison-McCormack Government is securing Australia’s recovery through significant commitments to strengthen our communications, media and creative arts sectors, helping to rebuild our economy, secure jobs and support communities as we continue our resurgence from the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>Digital service delivery has become more important than ever, with many sectors rapidly digitising over the past year to meet the demands of home-based work. This is why the Government’s Digital Economy Strategy plays a central role in the 2021-22 Budget, as we establish an enduring program to connect Australians and keep them safe online.</p> <p>This Budget also recognises the challenges the pandemic has created for our arts sector, with significant support being delivered to help Australia’s national cultural institutions and the broader arts sector position for stronger roles in a post-COVID world.</p> <p>The Government’s investments as part of its plan to secure Australia’s recovery include:</p> <ul> <li>$5.2 million for an awareness campaign to better support victims of online abuse and harm;</li> <li>$84.8 million for improved connectivity in the regions through the Regional Connectivity Program;</li> <li>$68.5 million for a dedicated stream of funding for Northern Australia under the Regional Connectivity Program and Mobile Black Spot Program;</li> <li>$16.4 million for better mobile connectivity in bushfire-prone areas on the fringe of our cities;</li> <li>$18.8 million over four years from 2021 22 for a Digital Games Tax Offset</li> <li>$8 million for community broadcasting;</li> <li>$15 million to the AAP Newswire in support of public interest journalism in regional Australia;</li> <li>$7.7 million to help consumers select reliable, high speed broadband services that meet their needs;</li> <li>$4.2 million to implement the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code;</li> <li>$85.4 million for eight national collecting institutions; and</li> <li>$11.9 million over four years to boost quality children’s television content.</li> </ul> <h2><strong>Communications and the Digital Economy</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Improving Online Safety</strong></h3> <p>Under the Morrison Government’s new Online Safety Act, there will be new and strengthened schemes to help Australians stay safe online. This includes a new adult cyber abuse scheme for Australian adults; an expanded cyberbullying scheme for Australian children and an enhanced image-based abuse scheme which addresses the non-consensual sharing of intimate images.</p> <p>The Government will invest an additional $5.2 million to alert Australians to the help available to them by informing the community of the new and strengthened schemes to keep them safe online.</p> <p>Australia is at the forefront of online safety policy and regulation. The Online Safety Act will bolster Australia’s world-leading online safety framework by creating new and strengthened schemes to keep Australians safe when things go wrong online.</p> <h3><strong>Improving Regional Connectivity</strong></h3> <p>The Government will build on the success of the Regional Connectivity Program by committing a further $84.8 million to the Program, opening up new opportunities for regional businesses, communities and regional services such as health and education.</p> <p>The Program complements the NBN and the Government’s highly successful Mobile Black Spot Program by targeting the delivery of new and improved access to broadband and mobile connectivity in areas of high economic and social value outside of the NBN fixed-line footprint.</p> <p>The first round of the program is providing $90.3 million (GST inc) in funding towards 81 telecommunications infrastructure projects. Successful applicants included local councils, major telecommunications companies, regional businesses, community groups, educational facilities and fixed wireless providers.</p> <p>Projects funded under the program will provide communities in regional Australia with access to improved broadband services and data, delivering fast, affordable and reliable connectivity.</p> <p>The Government will also enhance digital connectivity in Northern Australia by providing $68.5 million of dedicated funding for digital technology solutions in Northern Australia through the Regional Connectivity Program and Mobile Black Spot Program.</p> <h3><strong>Connecting and protecting communities on the urban fringe</strong></h3> <p>The Government will invest $16.4 million to establish the Peri-Urban Mobile Program to improve mobile connectivity in bushfire prone areas on the peri-urban fringe of our major cities.</p> <p>The peri-urban fringe is where the bush meets the suburbs, presenting a major bushfire risk to those who live and work in those areas.</p> <p>By improving mobile coverage in these areas, communities will be able to receive vital information during emergencies, seek help if needed and stay in touch with loved ones.</p> <p>On a day-to-day basis, the program will improve connectivity for these communities, contributing to the local economy through lifting productivity, capability and investment.</p> <p>The Peri-Urban Mobile Program will provide grant funding to Mobile Network Operators and infrastructure providers to deploy new mobile phone infrastructure to upgrade mobile reception and coverage issues in these areas.</p> <h3><strong>Digital Games Tax Offset</strong></h3> <p>As part of the Digital Economy Strategy, the Government is providing $18.8 million over four years from 2021 22 for a new Digital Games Tax Offset. This will provide a 30 per cent refundable tax offset for qualifying Australian digital games expenditure ongoing from 1 July 2022, with the criteria and definition of qualifying expenditure to be determined through industry consultation.</p> <p>This measure will drive investment and growth in the sector, as well as help attract and build the creative digital skills needed in the economy, helping Australia to take a greater share of the approximately $250 billion global video games development market.</p> <h3><strong>Community Broadcasting</strong></h3> <p>The Government will provide an additional $8 million over two years to the Community Broadcasting Foundation as part of the Community Broadcasting Program</p> <p>The community radio sector has made a valuable contribution to Australians throughout the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic. This additional support will help to boost development and operational funding, support sustainability and capability for the sector, and allow it to manage the ongoing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>Australia’s 450 community radio broadcasters will benefit from this measure.</p> <h3><strong>Continued support for public interest journalism in regional Australia</strong></h3> <p>The Government will provide additional funding of $15 million over two years to the Australian Associated Press Newswire (AAP), starting in the 2020-21 financial year. The funding will support AAP’s continued provision of newswire services, consisting of regional, national and international news, to regional media outlets across Australia. This allows regional media businesses to concentrate on covering local news stories that are important to their communities.</p> <p>The funding is consistent with the objectives of the Public Interest News Gathering (PING) Program to support regional journalism and builds on the Government’s existing support to the newswire service. The measure will bring the total support to AAP to $20 million. AAP’s existing PING agreement will be updated to reflect the increase in funding and new grant activities. The first payment of $7.5 million will be paid before 30 June 2021.</p> <h3><strong>Helping Australians access the right broadband services</strong></h3> <p>The Government will support the continued delivery of the Measuring Broadband Australia (MBA) program by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for an additional four years at a cost of $7.7 million that will be recovered in full via the Annual Carrier Licence Charge.</p> <p>The program will continue to help consumers select reliable, high speed fixed-line broadband services that meet their needs, and will extend these benefits to additional regional and emerging market segments by including fixed wireless broadband services.</p> <p>The importance of the program’s renewal is accentuated by the launch of new higher speed NBN products and increased reliance on broadband due to COVID-19.</p> <h3><strong>News Media Bargaining Code</strong></h3> <p>The Australian Government has introduced the world-leading News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code to address the bargaining power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and digital platforms, and to support a diverse and sustainable news media sector in Australia.</p> <p>The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has several important functions under the Code, including registering news businesses, and maintaining a register of arbitrators.</p> <p>Additional funding of $4.2 million over three years from 2020-21will be provided to ACMA in this Budget to enable the regulator to discharge its responsibilities.</p> <h2><strong>Creative and Cultural Sector</strong></h2> <p>As part of our plan to secure Australia’s recovery, the Government has invested almost $300 million to support the successful reopening of Australia’s creative and cultural sector. These measures include:</p> <ul> <li>$125.6 million for further Restart Investment and Sustain Expand (RISE) grants will provide competitive seed funding for new productions, festivals and events to support the successful re-opening of Australia’s creative and cultural sector.</li> <li>$50.8 million to extend the Temporary Interruption Fund used by the screen industry until 31 December 2021. The fund is helping to support local film and television producers secure finance and start filming again.</li> <li>$20 million in grants providing support to our independent cinemas through the Supporting Cinemas’ Retention Endurance and Enhancement initiative (SCREEN) </li> <li>$75 million to reinstate the Producer Offset Rate for film set to 40 per cent as an ongoing measure for Australian film of creative and cultural significance.</li> <li>$20 million to various arts organisations including $10 million for the music charity Support Act, and $5 million to support national performing arts touring.</li> <li>$11.4 million to support the recovery of regional arts events in 2021-22.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>More support for our National Cultural Institutions</strong></h3> <p>The Government will provide additional funding of $85.4 million to our National Collecting Institutions to improve their financial sustainability and enable them to undertake a variety of capital works so that we can continue to preserve and enjoy Australia’s cultural heritage.</p> <p>Additional funding of $32.4 million over two years will be provided to eight National Collecting Institutions to improve their financial sustainability and enable them to deliver public services and programs. The Australian National Maritime Museum, Bundanon Trust, Museum of Australian Democracy, National Film and Sound Archive, National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia, National Museum of Australia and National Portrait Gallery of Australia will be the beneficiaries of this funding.</p> <p>The Government will also provide additional funding of $47.5 million to our national cultural institutions for a variety of capital works so that we can continue to preserve and enjoy Australia’s cultural heritage.</p> <p>This includes funding of $28.6 million to the National Gallery of Australia to replace end-of-life capital assets to improve the safety of staff and visitors and support the ongoing care of the Gallery’s collection valued at $6.2 billion.</p> <p>Funding of $9 million over two years will also be provided to the Australian National Maritime Museum, Bundanon Trust and the National Library of Australia to deliver safety related capital works. This will include safety improvements to public thoroughfares and replacement of fire safety systems at the Australian National Maritime Museum, restoration of the Bundanon Homestead, maintenance of the Boyd Education Centre, and support for the replacement of the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning system at the National Library of Australia.</p> <p>Funding of $5.5 million over four years will also be provided to establish and sustain an additional exhibition in the Museum of Australian Democracy.</p> <h3><strong>Children’s Television</strong></h3> <p>Further funding of $11.9 million over four years from 2021-22 and $3.0 million ongoing, will be provided to the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) to support the development and distribution of quality Australian children’s content. This is in addition to the funding of $20.2 million over two years provided in the 2020-21 Budget.</p> <p>ACTF has played a pivotal role in the success of iconic Australian programs, such as Round the Twist and Dance Academy, and more recent productions including Bluey, Hardball and Little J and Big Cuz.</p> <p>This funding will enable ACTF to support producers of children’s content to transition as the Government modernises the regulatory and funding framework that underpins Australian content. It will also assist ACTF to continue their role in helping producers capitalise on interest from streaming services to commission and acquire quality Australian children’s content.</p> <p>Through these significant investments in the 2021-22 Budget, the Government is securing Australia’s recovery by supporting job creation and an economic revival across sectors hit hard by the pandemic. </p> <h3><strong>Media contacts:</strong></h3> <p><strong>Minister Fletcher:</strong></p> <p>Imre Salusinszky | 0432 535 737 | <a href="mailto:Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au">Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au</a></p> <p>Christine Byllaardt | 0409 433 357 | <a href="mailto:Christine.VandenByllaardt@communications.gov.au">Christine.VandenByllaardt@communications.gov.au</a></p> <p><strong>Minister Coulton:</strong></p> <p>Steph Nicholls | 0417 314 920 | <a href="mailto:Steph.Nicholls@regional.gov.au">Steph.Nicholls@regional.gov.au</a></p> Coulton Australia’s communications, media and arts sectors helping secure our recovery