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New report endorses Australia regional policies.



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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Mark Vaile MP Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Transport and Regional Services Leader of the Nationals

29 May 2007 084MV/2007

NEW REPORT ENDORSES AUSTRALIAS REGIONAL POLICIES

A new report confirms that the Australian Government's partnership approach to supporting our regions is in line with the best regional policies in the world, the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of The Nationals, Mark Vaile, said today.

The report summarises the papers that were delivered by Australian and international experts at the Growing Regions conference in July 2006. The report was released today by the Department of Transport and Regional Services.

"The report includes a valuable paper by Odile Sallard and Andrew Davies from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It talks about the key characteristics of the regional policies that are being adopted throughout the OECD, which include:

● An emphasis on opportunity with measures to increase the productivity of enterprises and

encourage private investment in all regions; ● A focus on making better use of each region's own assets;

● Strategies that enhance competitiveness and partnership working arrangements," Mr Vaile

said.

"The Australian Government's approach to regional policy is based on the same model. We are working in partnership with regional communities to help them create new economic opportunities, build better local services, and become more competitive.

"Through the Sustainable Regions Programme, we have provided $131 million to create new opportunities in ten regions facing economic, social and environmental change. For example, the programme helped Austchilli in Bundaberg to expand its production of processed chilli, herb and vegetable purees. The company now exports to Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

"Meanwhile, our Regional Partnerships programme has funded about 1,240 local projects across regional Australia, ranging from medical centres to factory expansions. Every dollar that we invest attracts more than three dollars in partnership funding. It's great value for money, and is securing practical results for the seven million people of regional Australia," Mr Vaile said.

The Growing Regions report and a CD of the full conference presentations are available from DoTARS by phoning 02 6274 6197 or emailing growingregions@dotars.gov.au. The report is also available online at www.dotars.gov.au.