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November 24, 2016

Local councils and community groups are urged to apply for funds under a new Federal Government program to build more opportunities for Gippsland.

Federal MP Darren Chester said the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) would invest in projects that create jobs, economic growth and stronger regional communities.

“Projects in major capital cities will not be eligible under the Building Better Regions guidelines,” Mr Chester said.

“This is a $297 million fund for rural, regional and remote communities.”

Mr Chester said The Nationals as part of a Coalition Government were working hard to make sure regional areas received their fair share of funding.

“Gippsland received nearly $18 million from the previous National Stronger Regions Fund,” Mr Chester said.

“Projects that have been funded previously included the Traralgon performing arts centre, Port of Sale redevelopment, Gippsland Regions Sports Complex, and a new dental prosthetics laboratory in Churchill.”

The Building Better Regions Fund replaces the National Stronger Regions Fund.

Funding 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.

Mr Chester said the Community Investment Stream would help to bring more visitors to regional areas.

“The Community Investments Stream might help expand a local festival, attract a theatre production or major sporting event to the region to bring more visitors to the town, or it might be leadership or business training for young locals,” he said.

“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.”

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

CAPTION: Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Member for Gippsland Darren Chester, with Minister for Regional Development, Fiona Nash. 


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