The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has urged Gippsland councils and community organisations to apply for a share of $200 million in Federal Government funding for regional Australia.
Mr Chester said the money would be allocated to local infrastructure and community-building projects under the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF), which opens today for applications.
“In round two of the BBRF announced in July, we were allocated $1.5 million under the BBRF’s infrastructure stream to fund half the cost of constructing 81 kilometres of mountain bike trails near Omeo,” Mr Chester said.
“Three community-building projects in East Gippsland were also awarded a share of more than $280,000 under the community investment stream.
“Gippsland was also successful in the first round of the program, securing $500,000 for the expansion of Gippsland Lakes Community Health’s Bairnsdale site and $725,000 for new community clubrooms at Mallacoota.
“This is an important opportunity to get Federal Government funding for significant, landmark local projects that will further strengthen Gippsland, economically and socially.”
Regional tourism and local jobs are at the centre of this current round of the Building Better Regions Fund.
“I have a long history in supporting growth in the visitor economy across Gippsland and, just as we improve the road and rail connections, we need to upgrade the tourism infrastructure,” Mr Chester said.
“We have A grade natural attractions in Gippsland, but a lot of the infrastructure on public land needs to be improved and I’m keen to work with local and state governments to see more investment in our region.”
Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said round three of the BBRF continued the government’s commitment to unlocking economic potential in the regions.
“We are building strong and resilient communities, as well as helping create local jobs, by investing in projects across Australia which drive our regional economies,” Minister McCormack said.
“We have had fantastic outcomes over the first two funding rounds of the Building Better Regions Fund and I expect round three to deliver more of the same with up to $45 million earmarked to increase tourism and – importantly – create even more local jobs.
“In previous rounds, projects have ranged from building new community-based aged care facilities, developing training programs to support young people in starting their own businesses, and improving freight access to airports, just to name a few.
“Through this fund, we are making vital local tourism projects a reality for our regional communities, creating even better places to get a job or to visit, grow up in, and raise a family.”
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said this was a great opportunity for regional communities to kick-off new tourism infrastructure projects.
“Tourism is a major industry for many regional areas, and this fund could give regional communities the helping hand they need to seize on local tourism opportunities,” Minister Birmingham said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the ideas that regional communities have to attract and support more local and international tourists as this will ultimately help boost the local economy and help to create more local jobs.”
Minister McCormack said round three would continue delivering projects across the community investments and infrastructure projects streams, including tourism-related infrastructure projects, to drive economic development, create jobs and create stronger partnerships across communities.
“I encourage all interested and eligible organisations to apply for infrastructure and community-based project funding, to ensure our regional and remote communities continue to thrive.”
Applications close on November 15, 2018. For further information on eligibility and how to lodge an application, visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/bbrf