Fund aids growth in regional areas

By Benalla Ensign

Regional communities throughout Australia will benefit from 330 new infrastructure projects and community initiatives, as part of a $204.3million investment under round three of the Building Better Regions Fund.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the Federal Government’s investment would help ensure regional Australia remained a great place to live, work and raise a family.

‘‘We have seen fantastic outcomes from the first two rounds of the fund and today’s announcement continues that trend with the funding for important infrastructure projects,’’ Mr McCormack said.

‘‘These projects will help build local economies and drive job creation, with more than 13000 jobs to be supported throughout regional Australia, delivering career pathways and enabling people to stay in the communities they grew up in.

‘‘It is projects such as these that ensure our regions remain strong, resilient and prosperous in the long term and I look forward to seeing these high-quality projects transform their local towns and communities and unlock regional Australia’s economic potential.’’

A local example of a successful applicant is the Open Food Web Foundation in Wangaratta, which received $20000 for its ‘‘Growing our regional food system’’ project.

Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham said this round would provide more than $70million for building tourism infrastructure in regional Australia, providing a huge boost to the many regional economies, such as Benalla, that rely on tourism.

‘‘Tourism is such a vital industry for many regional areas with 43 cents in every tourism dollar now spent in regional Australia,’’ Mr Birmingham said.

‘‘Tourism infrastructure projects, such as the completion of the Great Valley Trail between Bright and Harrietville and the new Australian Opal Centre in Lightning Ridge, received funding in this round, enabling these communities to seize tourism opportunities and take full advantage of everything their regions have to offer.

‘‘We promised this fund would support at least $45 million in tourism infrastructure projects, but thanks to the high calibre of those who applied we are dramatically exceeding this, with tourism infrastructure across Australia receiving a $70 million boost.

‘‘Through the fund, the government is continuing its long-standing commitment to regional Australia by making vital local projects a reality, creating more jobs and driving economic development across our regional communities.’’

●For a full list of successful projects, visit