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Budget 2011: Investing in Regional Australia

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Investing in Regional Australia

10 May 2011 SC052/2011

Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government Simon Crean said the 2011-12 Federal Budget was further proof that the Gillard Government was working across all levels of government to support regional Australia.

"This Budget builds on the record investment in the transport, water, energy, health, education and communication infrastructure of our regions by committing $4.3 billion, commencing 1 July 2011," Mr Crean said.

"The Government is investing today to secure a sustainable future in our regions by building the infrastructure that regional Australia needs to be modern, prosperous and capable of meeting 21st century challenges.

"The Government recognises that our patchwork economy means some parts of the economy are strained by growth while others risk being left behind.

"We are committed to ensuring each region can develop to its full potential. That is why we are investing so heavily in infrastructure in regional Australia - in areas like health, education, road transport, and community infrastructure.

"We want to help individual regions identify the unique, long-term initiatives that will broaden their traditional economic base - helping them become more viable and sustainable in the future.''

The Government's 2011-12 Budget delivers on our commitment to regional Australia and includes funding for:

• $1.8 billion over six years to provide critical infrastructure upgrades to hospitals and health services for regional Australians through the Health and Hospitals Fund regional priority rounds;

• $500 million over five years to strengthen regional higher education and vocational education and training institutions, through the regional priorities round of the Education Investment Fund;

• $109.9 million over four years for universities with regional campuses through increased and better targeted loading payments to regional areas;

• $916 million for the first projects under the Regional Infrastructure Fund to help unlock the economic potential of our regions;

• $1 billion over five years through the Regional Development Australia Fund to finance infrastructure projects that best fit the economic and community needs of the regions;

• Bringing forward the introduction of wireless and satellite services as part of the National Broadband Network roll out, so regional Australia can access better broadband sooner;

• Improving transport infrastructure, including upgrading the Hume, Pacific, Bruce and New England highways and investing in freight rail through the Australian Rail Track Corporation;

• National Health and Hospitals Network reform, introducing a range of initiatives for rural, remote and regional communities;

• An investment of $20.3 million to strengthen the Regional Development Australia network; • An investment of more than $4 million in the MyRegion website; • A boost to investment in skills in regional Australia; • An investment package to build on the success of

Evocities in promoting the lifestyle and business opportunities offered in regional centres.

"In the past year, this Government has made significant changes to entrench regionalism in government policy-making, creating a Cabinet portfolio, a dedicated department and a sub-committee of Cabinet dedicated to the needs of regional Australians," Mr Crean said.

"We will continue to work closely with states, territories, Regional Development Australia committees and local government to ensure effective policy development and service delivery for all Australians, no matter where they live.''

Media Contacts

• Mr Crean's office: 02 6277 7380 Clinton Porteous 0403 369 588 or Colleen O'Sullivan 0409 282 143