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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6396

Mr CREAN (HothamMinister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government and Minister for the Arts) (12:03): The roads are out. There is a formula for road funding, but what we are trying to do is understand where we link, if we can see the merit of the argument, to either refer them to Infrastructure Australia—but I must say there is a deficiency in that process because a number of initiatives that fit below the $100 million threshold do not get up. Nevertheless we have acceptance of the fact that RDAs have to be consulted by Infrastructure Australia on prioritising these sorts of initiatives.

What we are trying to do with the Regional Development Australia Fund is to respond to proposals that come forward but also actively encourage them to get out and join the dots. Insofar as the process is concerned, the second round required the RDAs to nominate the three priority regions. That is taken into account by the committee that advises me, and the final decision will come through that process. There will be some to-ing and fro-ing: When is the project ready to commence? What leverage in terms of the funding do you have? How does it connect? These are all sorts of considerations that the independent panel we have established considers when it makes its recommendation to me.