THERE’S momentum behind the scenes on the Coalition Government’s $20 million Regional Jobs and Investment Package with an announcement on the membership of the Local Planning Committee expected very soon, Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch says.
This RJIP, announced during the 2016 election, aims to diversify regional economies, create jobs and invest in sustainable regional communities and will be delivered across 10 regions nationally, including the Cairns and Douglas local government areas.
The Package will be driven by local communities who know their region best, and structured around three funding streams:
o Business innovation grants
o Local infrastructure projects
o Skills and training programmes
“The Local Planning Committee is being established to develop our regional ‘investment plan’,” Mr Entsch said. “We must invest our funding wisely and get the best bang for our buck, the investment plan will identify our region’s strategic priority sectors and the best opportunities for growth.
“The investment plans will be used alongside the programme guidelines to ensure that funded projects reflect local priorities.
“I’ve been working with the Minister for Regional Development, Senator Fiona Nash, over the past couple of months and have recommended a number of local people who could contribute a wealth of local knowledge to the Panel.
This includes experience in business, regional development, industry (including tourism and defence), community engagement, indigenous enterprise and environmental and social sectors.
“Minister Nash has narrowed down the nominees, written and invited them onto the Local Planning Committee and is awaiting all the responses before the membership is formally announced.
“I’ve requested an extension of the time that nominees have to respond to the Minister, given that some people may still be on leave from work or not checking emails as frequently during the summer period,” Mr Entsch said.
“I look forward to making the announcement and releasing the names of the panel members with Minister Nash as soon as possible.”
Once the Committee is appointed, they will meet to establish the Regional Investment Plan.
It’s expected this will largely be based on work that has already been done in the region. When the Plan is signed off by Minister Nash, businesses will be able to lodge applications for funding which will be assessed by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
Guidelines for the program will be released ahead of our region’s funding round opening so that local community groups, councils and business groups can begin thinking about their applications.