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A new regional partnership.



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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon John Anderson MP Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Transport and Regional Services

The Hon Wilson Tuckey MP Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government

A New Regional Partnership

WT48j/2003 26th June 2003

The Federal Government has launched a new Regional Partnerships programme to make it simpler for communities to get Government backing for their regional development ideas.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, and the Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Wilson Tuckey, announced the details of the new programme today.

Mr Anderson said: “Regional Partnerships integrates all of the Government’s key regional funding programmes, except Sustainable Regions, into one simple programme.

“It continues our approach of working in partnership with local communities to support their ideas, rather than imposing inflexible solutions from on high.

“Since 1996, we have introduced major new programmes that have helped bring the Government, community organisations and local businesses together to promote local and regional development projects.

“Regional Partnerships builds on the strength of these initiatives by delivering one coordinated, easily accessible programme that is tailored to meet the specific needs of different regions.

“We will spend an additional $61.8 million on Regional Partnerships over the three years from 2004-05 to 2006-07,” Mr Anderson said.

Minister Tuckey said: “The new programme will focus on strengthening growth and opportunities, improving access to services in small communities, supporting regional planning and helping specific regions adjust to major economic, social or environmental change.

“Under Regional Partnerships there is one set of guidelines and one simple application process to make it as easy as possible to apply for Federal Government funding support.

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“It will use the Government’s new Standardised Funding Agreement, which is a model that all government departments can use to simplify and harmonise their approach to funding community organisations,” he said.

“Funding under Regional Partnerships is open to the private sector, recognising that business has a key role in driving economic and employment growth in our regions.

“We have strengthened the role of our 56 Area Consultative Committees (ACCs) to provide more on-the-ground help for people seeking funding to back their development ideas. The committees will be the main conduit for funding applications.

“The ACCs will help people turn good ideas into great projects by identifying appropriate funding sources, linking project proponents with information and potential partners, providing training and support in preparing applications, and helping people obtain broad community support. They will also help ensure that proposed projects are consistent with local and regional development priorities,” Mr Tuckey said.

Mr Anderson said that a recent independent report from the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics - Government Interventions in Pursuit of Regional Development: Learning from Experience - confirmed that the Federal Government’s

approach to regional policy was based on international best practice.

“The report shows that facilitating local investment and business activity in targeted regions, capitalising on local knowledge and resources, and promoting links between industry, government and communities in the regional development process are the keys to success.

“These are the fundamental principles that underpin Regional Partnerships and our Sustainable Regions programme. Our targeted initiatives, together with our sound management of the economy, are making an enormous difference in regional Australia,” he said.

The new Regional Partnerships programme amalgamates Regional Solutions, Regional Assistance, Rural Transaction Centres, Dairy Regional Assistance and the structural adjustment programmes for the Wide Bay-Burnett, Namoi Valley, Weipa and South-West Forests region of Western Australia.

For more information go to www.regionalpartnerships.gov.au

Media inquiries:

Deputy Prime Minister’s office Bill McKinley (02) 6277 7680 Minister Tuckey’s office Graeme Hallett (02) 6277 7060