Australia

Federal Government releases guidelines for $6bn Regional Infrastructure Fund

THE Federal Government this week released guidelines for the $6 billion Regional Infrastructure Fund that aims to unlock investment in communities dealing with the impacts of the mining boom.

The government has set aside $6 billion for the Regional Infrastructure Fund as part of the proceeds of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax to pay for major road, rail, ports and other economic infrastructure to support growth.

According to the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, the broad objectives of the Fund are to:

  • Promote development and job creation in mining communities, and in communities which support the mining sector;
  • Provide a clear benefit to Australia's economic development, and to investment in Australia's resource or export capacity; and
  • Address potential capacity constraints arising from export production and resource projects.

Speaking in Rockhampton on Wednesday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the fund would spread the benefits of the boom across the entire nation and support communities at the forefront of the nation's resources boom.

"The Fund is already investing in for infrastructure in mining communities, including supporting the $85 million Yeppen North Lagoon bridge and roundabout project, which is currently under construction," Ms Gillard said.

"The release of these guidelines today means that all communities—state and local governments and other stakeholders—will now be able to submit detailed proposals to Infrastructure Australia for assessment."

Infrastructure Australia will be charged with advising the Federal Government on how best to allocate funding over nine years.

The Regional Infrastructure Fund guidelines are available from the Department of Infrastructure and Transport website at <http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/>.

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