Drought-affected regional communities across Australia will benefit from 163 new local infrastructure and community projects as part of a $207 million investment under Round 4 of the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said this funding injection comes at a critical time for drought-affected communities.
“Many regional Australians are experiencing the worst drought in living memory – some dealing with this stress for more than a decade,” said McCormack.
“Recent rainfall in many regional areas has resulted in the best start to a winter cropping season in a long time and the forecasts are for above average rainfall.
“That said, the effect of the long dry spell are and will be felt for many months if not years to come.
“These projects will go a long way towards building confidence and creating jobs and local procurement in areas that need it most.
“Regional Australia has withstood one of the most devastating bushfire seasons, floods and now a global pandemic – to say they’ve been hit hard in recent times, is an understatment.
“Their strength and spirit will lead Australia’s recovery through grass-roots projects – creating jobs, boosting local economies and growing confidence in regional communities as a great place to live, work and invest," he said.
McCormack said the Government has seen great outcomes from the first three rounds of the BBRF. Today's announcement will build on that by funding the following infrastructure projects:
Tenterfield Water Treatment Plant replacement, New South Wales ($2,645,000)
Disability Respite Care Facility in Goondiwindi, Queensland ($589,523)
Construction of Ravensthorpe Cultural precinct in Western Australia ($5,275,800)
Extension of Bogan Shire Medical Centre in Nyngan, New South Wales ($350,218)
WQLX Transit and Spelling Facility upgrade in Longreach, Queensland ($719,548)
WINGS 'Our Youth, Our Future' Redevelopment in Wilcannia NSW (The project will demolish the aged corrugated iron building and construct a new purpose-built facility) ($1,656,150).
Also, the fund will deliver community-building initiatives such as:
Cooper Coast Food Art and Wine Festival in Kadina, South Australia ($27,000)
Economic Security4Women Connection program, Queensland ($20,000)
Granite Belt Bites, Beats & Bounce (youth-focused event promoting music, food and physical activity) in Stanthorpe, Queensland ($20,000)
Narrungdera Earth Fest Creative Economy Project in Narrandera, NSW ($136,675)
“All Round 4 projects will strengthen our local economies and drive much-needed job creation, with thousands of jobs expected to be supported throughout regional Australia – delivering career pathways and enabling people to stay in the very communities in which they grew up," said McCormack.
Minister for Drought, David Littleproud, said it was important now more than ever for the Australian Government to continue backing drought-affected regions.
“In past BBRF rounds we have supported transformative projects such as the substantial upgrade to Australia’s largest beef saleyards, in Roma, Queensland,” said Littleproud.
“This project, just one example of the hundreds BBRF has invested in, was completed in January thanks to $3.9 million in Australian Government funding and supported 60 positions while delivering lasting infrastructure which will bolster the local beef industry and economy for years to come.
“We’ve also supported critical tourist drawcards such as the Peter Allen Festival in Tenterfield and the Kingaroy BaconFest, which injected much-needed cash flow into our regional communities and ensure Australia’s beautiful and diverse regions remain renowned world-wide.
“This latest round is an opportunity to support and work together with the one and a half million Australians affected by drought," he said.
Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, Nola Marino, said regional Australians have an unmatched spirit and resilience.
“Rural and regional Australians are coming together and supporting each other through these tough times and it is important that this latest round of BBRF is providing much-needed support to hard-hit regional communities at a crucial time,” said Marino.
“Through the BBRF, the Australian Government is continuing its commitment to regional Australia, making vital local projects a reality, driving economic development and creating stronger partnerships across our regional communities.
“It is programs such as BBRF which ensure our regions remain strong and prosperous in the long term. I look forward to seeing these projects transform their local towns and communities and unlock regional Australia’s economic potential.”
In other news, Mal Highet lifts spirits with ‘Visit a Farmer’ campaign.