REGIONAL and rural communities will be the big winners out of a new federal government fund designed to build local economies.
Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz said the $297 million Building Better Regions Fund would invest in projects which create jobs, boost local economies and strengthen communities outside the major capital cities.
“Locals know our community best and this fund gives community groups and councils the opportunity to think outside the square,” he said.
“I look forward to seeing which projects local communities across the electorate of Wright – from the Lockyer Valley to Logan Country and the Scenic Rim to the Gold Coast Hinterland, feel will best strengthen our region.”
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 Buchholz said the new fund would service regional areas more than previous funds had.
“Projects in major capital cities will not be eligible under the Building Better Regions guidelines. This is a fund purely for rural and regional communities like ours and also for the more remote communities,” he said.
“A brand new source of funding will be available for community projects – a Community Investments Stream. 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.
“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.
“Also, projects will now be assessed against projects of similar size, so small community projects are not competing against huge projects.
“We’ve designed the Building Better Regions Fund to back projects that help build the kinds of communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to.
“When the government invests in a region it builds confidence across the entire community. Confidence is key in regional communities.
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.
The Building Better Regions Fund replaces the National Stronger Regions Fund which has now closed.