Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) today welcomed the announcement of the Coalition Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) that will focus solely on funding projects in regional and rural areas.
Mayor Shane Van Styn, Chair of Regional Capitals Australia said that the alliance had been making the case for this change for some time.
“We are pleased to see the shift in policy towards supporting regional Australia, where regional stakeholders have access to funding that can make their areas more productive and liveable,” says RCA Chair, Mayor Shane Van Styn.
“This is a true regional fund,” he added.
Under the billion-dollar National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF), funding was available to “Australia’s regions,” including metropolitan areas like Melbourne and Sydney.
Minister for Regional Development, Regional Communications and Rural Health, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, pointed out the difficulty in small councils and remote communities in competing for funding against big capital city capitals that naturally have the resources to put together a stronger application.
In announcing the fund Minister Nash has also stated three infrastructure project categories will be created to ensure projects of a similar size will be ranked against each other and small projects will not compete with major projects for funding.
“After the first round of the National Stronger Regions Fund was announced, it became clear the program was for Australia’s regions, not just regional Australia,” said Van Styn.
“RCA is happy to see that if re-elected the Coalition will ensure the new focus of the BBRF funding will go to developing exciting projects in regional, rural and remote Australia,” said Van Styn.
“By allowing regional capital cities to gain access to this fund, we’re creating an even playing field for regional cities. It provides an opportunity for equitable investments that enables job creation, attracts new residents and creates communities that are connected,” Van Styn said.
“Our aim is to ensure that people in regional capital cities can find a well paying job and also that these cities are recognised as having all the social facilitates that make them good places to live,” Van Styn noted.
“This includes investing in a total infrastructure package to support stronger regional centres – transport, digital technology, education, recreational facilities and culture.”
Sheri Shannon, Regional Capitals Australia Secretariat
P: 03 9614 7302
M: 0405 220 815
About Regional Capitals Australia
Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) is a national alliance of local government councils across the nation representing Australia’s regional cities. RCA’s mission is to provide a recognised platform to champion the strategic importance and sustainable development of regional capitals around the nation. To learn more about our work visit http://www.regionalcapitalsaustralia.org/.