THE Coalition Government’s new Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) will invest in projects to create jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger rural, regional and remote communities into the future.
This new $297 million fund was launched yesterday (WED) by Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash, who said the BBRF will deliver for infrastructure projects and community activities that are located outside the major capital cities.
Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch welcomed the news, saying he was keen to maximise interest in the new funding program and outcomes for the Far North.
“Locals know our community best and the BBRF gives community groups and councils the opportunity to think outside the square,” Mr Entsch said. “I really want to spread the word and get as much benefit for projects in the Far North as we can, and I’m looking forward to seeing what kinds of projects local communities feel will best strengthen our region.”
Funding under the BBRF will be available in two streams:
• The Infrastructure Projects Stream will invest in projects that involve the construction of new infrastructure, or upgrade or extension of existing infrastructure.
• The Community Investments Stream will invest in local events and activities, strategic regional plans and leadership and capability building activities.
“There are key differences between the new Building Better Regions Fund and previous funds,” Mr Entsch said.
“Projects in major capital cities will not be eligible under the Building Better Regions guidelines. This is a Fund for rural, regional and remote communities.
“A brand new source of funding will be available for community projects – a Community Investments Stream. This Stream might help to expand a local festival, attract a theatre production or a major sporting event to the region to bring more visitors, or it might involve leadership or business training for young locals.
“A new ‘social benefit’ criteria will allow applicants to show how their project will make their region a more attractive place to live, or improve community connections.
“Projects in remote and very remote areas will receive a loading on their project score, and also will not need to produce dollar-for-dollar matching funding.
“Also, projects will now be assessed against projects of similar size, so small community projects are not competing against huge projects.”
Mr Entsch said that all these factors point to projects in the Far North having a very real chance of success in the competitive assessment process.
“I’m looking forward to working with applicants towards a positive outcome because when the Government invests in a region it builds confidence across the entire community.”
The Program Guidelines for the Building Better Regions Fund outline the type of project proposals sought, how to lodge an application, how assessment will be conducted, and critical program dates. To access the BBRF guidelines, and to lodge an application from 18 January 2017, visit www.business.gov.au/bbrf
The Building Better Regions Fund replaces the National Stronger Regions Fund which has now closed.