The Australian Government has committed $200 million into a Regional Jobs and Investment Package (package) to grow sustainable, quality employment in regional Australia.
Local communities will assess their region’s economic opportunities and competitive advantages and develop local investment plans to kick start the economy; creating a community-driven, government investment partnership between the local communities, business and the Australian Government.
The package will be delivered across the following nine regions:
- Bowen Basin
- New South Wales North Coast
- New South Wales South Coast
- Wide Bay Burnett
- Goulburn Valley
- Upper Spencer Gulf
Why have these regions been selected?
Each of the identified regions have been impacted by the slowdown in mining, falling commodity prices and changes to the manufacturing sector however they also have potential for growth.
Each region will be able to access between $20 million and $30 million in funding to pursue new opportunities in their region, and to invest in skills and technology as needed.
The package will be structured around three streams:
- Business innovation grants;
- Local infrastructure; and
- Skills and training programs.
The Commonwealth will seek co-contribution to funding from project proponents and other levels of government to leverage additional investment into these regions.
The Australian Government recognises the extensive work communities have already undertaken to help shape their futures. The Government will be progressing the Package to:
- reduce fragmentation and duplication of existing policy interventions;
- maximise the return on existing and new investment; and
- align with state and local government strategic agendas and investment.
The department will engage with regions in the coming weeks to start this community-led process.
What is the Regional Jobs and Investment Package?
- The Regional Jobs and Investment Package (package) is a $200 million Australian Government initiative designed to create local jobs and growth, help diversify regional economies and build strong communities.
- Following a local planning process, eligible regions will be able to access between $20 million and $30 million in funding under the package across three streams:
- Business innovation grants;
- Local infrastructure projects; and
- Skills and training programs.
What will be the role of the Australian Government in the planning process?
The Federal Minister for Regional and Rural Development appointed a nine-person committee consisting of regional business leaders with a diversity of skills have been chosen to lead the Regional Jobs and Investment Package local planning committee which will advise the government on the best way to disperse the funds.
The Local Planning Committees (LPC) will help communities assess their region’s economic opportunities and competitive advantages and develop local investment plans.
This will create a community-driven, government investment partnership between the local communities, business and the Australian Government.
The committee is chaired by Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett Chair Bill Trevor who is also Deputy Mayor of Bundaberg Regional Council. Other members include Ms Leone Aslett, Ms Nancy Bates, Mr Stephen Cooper, Ms Kathy Duff, Mr Eric Law, Mr Kerren Smith, Mr Don Waugh and Mr Glen Winney.
The LPC has been submitted and is available here.
- The Australian Government will be engaging with regional stakeholders to listen to and understand what is happening in each region.
- Further details will be available to regions in the coming weeks.
- Through this process the Australian Government will build an understanding of how the package can be best designed to support regional communities to invest in and diversify their economies, create new business and innovation opportunities, and help boost the number of jobs available in regional areas.
What will regional plans cover?
- It’s expected that local governments, businesses, community and industry groups will all contribute to the regional plans to determine opportunities for long-term growth in their regions.
- Regional plans will assess regional opportunities and list strategic investment priorities (not individual proposals) across the three streams of the package.
- Further details regarding the required content of regional plans will be made available once program details are finalised.
Can regions use existing plans?
- The Government recognises that identified regions may have existing regional plans, and would expect communities to build on existing plans as they develop their regional plan.
When will my region be able to apply for funding?
- Applications for funding can be submitted once the region’s plan has been developed and after grant program guidelines have been developed and funding rounds opened.
Who will be eligible to apply for funding under the package?
- Eligibility requirements will be clearly outlined in the grant program guidelines for the package and may depend on the stream of funding (business grants, infrastructure projects and skills and training).
GRANTS ADMINISTERED UNDER THE PACKAGE
What can grant funding be used for?
- Further details on what funds can be used for will be outlined in the grant program guidelines for the package.
- At a minimum, project proposals must demonstrate how they would address a stated priority—as outlined in a regions’ local investment plan—in order to receive funding.
How will funding be determined?
- Funding for specific projects will be determined through formal application rounds administered by the department, with funding awarded on a competitive basis and in accordance with grant program guidelines.
How will matched funding work?
- The Australian Government will leverage additional investment in these regions—this includes local and state governments and the private sector.
- Full details of co-contribution to funding requirements will be outlined in the grant program guidelines.
LINKS TO OTHER PROGRAMS
What other programs are available to help regions that are not eligible to receive funding under the package?
- There are a number of programs and initiatives available to assist regions create jobs, develop skills and drive economic growth.
- These include Industry Growth Centres, Entrepreneurs’ Program, Incubator Support Program, jobactive and the newly announced Building Better Regions Fund.
- The business.gov.au portal provides a comprehensive catalogue of the grants and assistance programs available to help support the creation of strong economies and sustainable employment opportunities in regional Australia.
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