Regional Capitals Australia Response to Federal Budget 2018

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) has welcomed initiatives within the Federal Budget 2018.

RCA Chair, Mayor Shane Van Styn stated the budget included important big-ticket items such as significant road investments across regional Australia and new health initiatives.

A new initiative to connect key freight corridors was announced in the Budget. The Roads of Strategic Importance features $3.5 billion for projects, including:

  • Coffs Harbour: $971 million for the Coffs Harbour bypass;
  • Latrobe City: $132 million to complete the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale; and
  • Geelong: $50 million for the Geelong Rail line duplication between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds.

Additional new initiatives also included:

  • Five rural and regional medical schools: as part of an $83 million Strong Rural Health Strategy, the schools will be created as part of the workforce incentive programme, with all schools to be based in the broader Murray Darling region; and
  • Regional Universities: $96 million allocated to support additional student places in regional universities and regional study hubs.

Continuation of funding has been allocated for the following programs:

  • Building Better Regions Fund: $200 million was allocated for the third round of the program; and
  • Smart Cities and Suburbs Programme: $50 million.

Existing programs that will have funding rolled out this year include:

  • Regional Growth Fund: $272 million with funding for round one projects to be announced; and
  • Faster Rail Business Cases: three business cases have been nominated for funding.

“Regional capital cities are the liveable, investable and affordable alternative to major metropolitan cities and provide an important service centre role for all regional Australians, so we look forward to working with the government on identifying funding for existing and new regional city deals and decentralisation of federal departments,” Mayor Van Styn said.

“These issues will be discussed with the Minister for Regional Development, the hon Dr John McVeigh when we are in Canberra in the coming weeks,” he said.


Rachael Sweeney, Regional Capitals Australia Secretariat
P: 03 9666 3368
M: 0422 067 858

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

Available for Interview
Mayor Shane Van Styn – Chair, Regional Capitals Australia