THE Australian Government last week announced $293 million to fund 111 projects to help deliver economic benefits to communities around Australia through Round Two of the National Stronger Regions Fund.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the second round of the programme had seen an increase in the number of applications, with 513 applications seeking $1.5 billion in funding.
"The strong growth in applications demonstrates a genuine appreciation of the programme by communities across the nation. The Fund maintains a very strong level of support from not for profit organisations and local governments," Mr Truss said.
"This round of the programme was very competitive and the standard of applications was higher than the previous round.
"Clearly, applicants have thought seriously about how well their project addresses the objectives of the Fund. Round Two also had $25 million quarantined for projects seeking funding of $1 million or less, so smaller projects are well represented amongst the successful applicants.
"As a result, double the number of projects are being funded under Round Two than Round One which is great news for communities across the nation."
Mr Truss said the 111 projects selected for Round Two funding brought the total number of National Stronger Regions Fund projects to 162.
"These projects bring the total amount of Australian Government investment approved to date under the Fund to $505 million," he said.
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said he was delighted to see such a strong response from applicants again in Round Two which will deliver great new gains for communities.
"The National Stronger Regions Fund is supporting investment in a diverse range of infrastructure from tourism, water and transport infrastructure to cultural, sporting and healthcare facilities, providing sustainable economic growth in areas of disadvantage across the country," Mr McCormack said
"The programme allows communities to identify their own priority infrastructure projects, and particularly encourages partnerships between not-for-profit organisations, local, state and territory governments as well as the private sector.
"The Australian Government recognises the vital role Australia's regions can and must play to drive economic development, to lift productivity and to encourage and foster innovation."
The National Stronger Regions Fund is delivering $1 billion over five years to promote economic growth and address disadvantage. The third round of the programme will be open for submissions between 15 January 2016 and 15 March 2016.
More information on the National Stronger Regions Fund, including a full list of successful projects, is available from Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website at <http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/nsrf/>.