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Innovation and employment through the Regional Assistance Programme (RAP)



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MEDIA RELEASE

Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government WILSON TUCKEY

20 June 2002 WT33/2002

INNOVATION AND EMPLOYMENT THROUGH THE REGIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME (RAP)

The Federal Government is providing $2.7 million through the Regional Assistance Programme (RAP), to support innovative job generating projects throughout Australia.

Announcing the funding today the Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Wilson Tuckey, said this was the fourth RAP funding round for 2001-02 and brought the total RAP funding for the financial year to nearly $16.5 million.

"A total of 43 projects have been approved with 75 percent of funding going to projects in regional, rural and remote areas," Mr Tuckey said.

"RAP projects are developed in partnership with local business and community organisations and through consultation with all levels of government. RAP stimulates job prospects, helps build stronger rural and remote communities and assists disadvantaged regions.

"Regional based programmes provide communities with the opportunity to develop high quality projects that advance local initiatives.

"Co-funding from local organisations for these initiatives demonstrates a high level of community support. This support ensures projects achieve their objectives by harnessing local commitment, energy and experience," Mr Tuckey said.

Area Consultative Committees (ACCs) play a vital role in developing and supporting RAP and other regional initiatives. There are 56 ACCs throughout Australia covering metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas.

Minister Tuckey commended the ACCs who worked with local organisations developing these projects, saying they provided local solutions to local employment and economic development concerns.

Some of the high quality and innovative projects funded include:

$39,500 to allow young people to bring forward their own business ideas to be developed into a business plan. The project will provide mentor support, financial assistance through micro-loans and/or grants, and a supportive environment through periodic meetings of participants, mentors and local supporters.

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$70,730 to enable the integrated and staged development of a series of heritage, natural, indigenous and cultural tourism opportunities in the Yass Shire. ●

$44,500 towards the development of an interactive tourism facility off the Wollongong coast. The RAP project is part of a million-dollar facility providing 'state of the art' eco tourism packages, including ocean tours with whales and dolphins and viewing of the Wandering Albatross and other seabirds nesting on the Five Islands Group.

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$95,590 for a project investigating the viability of a mallee eucalyptus plantation industry in Northern Victorian. Such initiatives are crucial in the development of sustainable regional outcomes for low rainfall areas and make a significant contribution to natural resource management including combating salinity.

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$110,660 for Tjanpi, an innovative craft enterprise employing Aboriginal women living in remote Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara communities. As well as increasing the production and sale of baskets and other woven products the project also aims to develop workshops for tourists to learn about traditional Indigenous women's culture and craft.

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A full list of projects will be available at: http://www.dotrs.gov.au/regional/rap

Media Contact: Graeme Hallett (02) 6277 7060 / 0419 688 440