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Anderson announces key new rural program.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

John Anderson Federal Member for Gwydir

Minister for Primary Industries & Energy

Deputy Leader National Party of Australia

 

ANDERSON ANNOUNCES KEY NEW RURAL PROGRAM

 

25 September 1998

 

Federal Primary Industries Minister, John Anderson to day urged rural community and industry groups keen to map out a positive future to seek funding under the Federal Government’s new $10 million rural strategic planning initiative - Rural Plan .

 

“Rural Plan will help communities and industries address the economic and social challenges they face and identify opportunities for business, industry and community growth,” he said.

 

He was speaking in Gunnedah at the national launch of Rural Plan, which is an integral part of the Government’s $525 million rural policy package, Agriculture - Advancing Australia.

 

Grants of up to $200,000 are available for activities including:

 

• funding for strategic rural planning processes;

 

• economic studies to identify rural community income and expenditure patterns;

 

• the id entification of diversification and value adding opportunities;

 

• community leadership training opportunities;

 

• funding for networking within and across regions; and

 

• funding of facilitators or project coordinators to assist rural community and indust ry development.

 

He said a number of rural communities with a strong interest in strategic planning had contacted the government since last year’s launch of Agriculture - Advancing Australia, and the Department of Primary Industries and Energy had worked closely with them to develop some pilot projects which will commence immediately:

 

• $200,000 for the Survival, Sustainability and Success in the Liverpool Plains Region project, located in north western NSW

 

• $100,000 for the Eastern Downs Turnaround, loc ated in southern Queensland

 

• $200,000 for the Murray Mallee Regional Strategic Co-ordination Project, located in the southeast of South Australia

 

Mr Anderson said details of a further four pilot programs will be announced shortly.

 

Mr Anderson said he w as delighted with the pilot projects and had every confidence that over time they would make a real difference to investment and employment opportunities in the regions where they were based,

 

Mr Anderson said the Government has developed Rural Plan on the understanding that the key to tackling the challenges faced by communities is to recognise the strong willingness of regions to drive their own development plans.

 

“This gives people the chance to set some goals for their industry or region and develop a strategy to achieve them,” he said.

 

Application forms and further information can be obtained from the Rural Division, Department of Primary Industries and Energy, GPO Box 858, Canberra, ACT, 2600; by phone on (02) 6272 5758; by e-mail at rural.plan@dpie.gov.au; or on the World Wide Web on http: //www.dpie.gov.au/rural/plan.

 

Media contact: Robert Haynes on (02) 6277 7520 or (0419) 493 511

 

SUMMARY OF RURAL PLAN PILOT PROJECTS

 

Murray Mallee Regional Strategic Coordination Project - $200,000

 

The Murray Ma llee is a significant dryland agricultural region with a gross value of production of approximately $200 million. It makes a significant contribution to the South Australian economy. The focus of this project is on community action to maintain its standard of living through times of seasonal and commodity price downturns. The prime objective is to achieve diversification of the agricultural production base leading to improved farm performance, profitability and sustainability, with flow-on benefits to employment.

 

The project will fund a facilitator, communication processes, workshops and consultant support over three years to develop an action plan for the recommendations of the Murray Mallee Strategic Task Force report of 1997, and to coordinate its implementation.

 

The Murray Mallee area comprises the areas broadly served by the towns of Pinnaroo, Lameroo, Karoondah, Swan Reach, Tailem Bend and Coonalpyn. The funding is being matched by the South Australian Government.

 

Eastern Downs Turnaround (Strategic Planning Initiative) - $100,000

 

The Eastern Downs Turn Around group was formed at a meeting in 1995 and includes membership from the farming community, business, Local and State Government in the southern Darling Downs. This project is for the development and implementation of a strateg ic plan covering the five Local Government areas of Allora, Warwick, Glengallan, Clifton and Cambooya.

 

This grant will allow the group to develop a strategic plan through the use of a facilitator and consultants. The strategy will help the local community address structural problems in the region, including small property size, low family incomes, low technology use and low to negative returns on capital, as well as developing a regional identity. This grant complements a $45,000 grant provided to this group by the Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs to investigate the feasibility of a whisky distillery in the region.

 

Survival, Sustainability and Success in the Liverpool Plains Region - $200,000

 

This project involves the develo pment of a strategic plan for the Gunnedah Shire and Liverpool Plains district with a special focus on rebuilding the district's economic base. The project will have an initial focus in the Gunnedah area due to the economic and social impact of recent industry closures (meat processing and coal mining).

 

Gunnedah Shire Council will be the lead agency for this project, however, it will be managed by the community-based Gunnedah Economic Development Group. The area to be eventually covered by this project includes Gunnedah, Quirindi and Narrabri Shires. The project will be based on significant analysis Gunnedah Shire has undertaken of the challenges and opportunities in the area. In the first phase of the project funding will be provided for consultation goal setting, information analysis, and preparation of a development plan for the Shire.

 

Following consultation, the second phase of the project will see it broadened to include economic and community planning for the towns, industries, infrastructure and communities of the Liverpool Plains region.

 

 

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