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Kimberley region on-track.



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M82/2001 9 April 2001

KIMBERLEY REGION ON-TRACK

In a response to the region’s local priorities and issues, the Federal Government has reinforced its significant commitment to the development of the Kimberley region.

Federal Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Senator Ian Macdonald, released the formal Federal Government response to local consultations in the Kimberley region in Broome today.

The local consultations were conducted last year to establish the region’s priorities for discussion at the Northern Australia Forum which was held in Katherine last October.

“The outcomes of the consultations were invaluable - the Government has now taken the process one step further by providing today’s comprehensive response to the issues raised,” Senator Macdonald said.

“While challenges still lie ahead, I am pleased to say that today’s report is evidence that the Government’s efforts in the Kimberley region are on-track.

A summary of key responses includes:

Transport infrastructure and the need for the Commonwealth to support other levels of government in providing this infrastructure were highlighted. Within the Kimberley region, the Federal Government is undertaking a $60 million progressive bridge upgrading programme on the Great Northern Highway to help reduce the impact of flooding.  This work will include bridges over the Ord, Bow, Fitzroy and Dunham Rivers.

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The Roads to Recovery programme has provided grants of $5.6 million to the Kimberley region over the next four years. Councils in the region should apply for their funds as soon as possible, so they too can provide better roads for the community.

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The region raised the need for improvement to the telecommunications services available in the Kimberley. Telecommunications is a priority area for the Federal Government.  The Networking the Nation programme commits $4.11 million dollars for projects specifically in and around the Kimberley.  The region will also benefit from $18.53 million committed to state-wide projects for Western Australia.

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The need to review energy services in the region was also identified. While the provision of energy is a State government responsibility, the Federal Government’s Renewable Remote Power Generation Programme will contribute an anticipated $25 million to Western Australia. 

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The programme will provide rebates of up to fifty percent of the capital cost of renewable energy technologies installed in remote communities that are not serviced by a main electricity grid.

Trade and Rural Leadership issues have been raised by a number of consultations. At the forum Senator Macdonald announced additional TradeStart offices in northern Australia including two to be located in Carnarvon and Kununurra. Today the Government also announced  a three year $1.3 million initiative Young People in Rural Industries including the Young Rural Leaders program.

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Senator Macdonald said these initiatives are a small sample of the broad range of Federal Government assistance in the Kimberley region demonstrating an enduring commitment to regional Australia.”

“The overwhelming vision from the Forum was to adopt a strategic approach to the development of the north.  Today’s report demonstrates that strong foundations are in place to make that the reality,” Senator Macdonald said.

Today’s report is part of a series of ten regional Federal Government responses to local consultations across northern Australia. The Kimberley Area Consultative Committee will monitor progress and provide a focal point for the community on the Federal Government’s response.

***Senator Macdonald is available for interview in Broome today (9/4/01)***

Media Contact: David Moore (02) 6277 7060 / (0417) 774 724

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000 Last updated:  Wednesday, 11 April 2001