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Truss calls for applications for regional sugar projects.



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DAFF04/251WT - 25 August 2004

Truss calls for applications for regional sugar projects

Agriculture Minister Warren Truss today called for applications under Round 1 of the Regional and Community Projects component of the Australian Government's $444 million Sugar Industry Reform Program 2004 (SIRP).

"The $75 million, three-year Regional and Community Projects component is designed to encourage medium to longer-term restructuring in the sugar industry," Mr Truss said.

"One of the keys to achieving that objective is providing sugar regions and local communities - the ones best placed to know what will work locally and what will not - with the backing for projects that boost industry sustainability, as well as help sugar-dependent communities better plan for the future.

"It is about finding local solutions to local challenges, and using the restructuring process to build a stronger, more secure sugar industry."

Mr Truss said prospective projects would need to be consistent with the priorities for regional reform determined by the Regional Advisory Groups and endorsed by the Industry Oversight Group - other important components of SIRP 2004.

"The Industry Oversight Group and Regional Advisory Groups will play key roles in assessing the project proposals," he said.

The closing date for the first round of applications is 22 October 2004.

Queensland applicants should contact their local Sugar Executive Officer for application forms and copies of the guidelines. NSW and Western Australian applicants should contact the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on:

● 1800 098 071

● sugarprojects@daff.gov.au (email)

● or by visiting www.daff.gov.au/sirp.

Mr Truss said the assessment process would be fair and thorough, with the successful projects to be determined on a competitive basis.

"I urge sugar industry representatives from across Australia to get their applications in as soon as possible and continue the task of restructuring this vital industry."

A list of Queensland-based Sugar Executive Officers is attached.

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead - 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433