AUSTRALIAN Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash last week launched the Coalition Government's vision statement for rural, regional and remote Australia: 'Regions 2030: Unlocking Opportunity'.
The Regions 2030 statement outlines the government's vision for regional Australia and the key initiatives helping to achieve that vision.
"Regional development is about having a vision for what we want regional communities to look like in 20 years. It's about making sure we create both careers and jobs in our communities so our children and grandchildren can lead fulfilling lives. It's about developing ways our young people can receive an excellent education without leaving the community they grew up in," Ms Nash said.
"Regional development is about much more than just grants programs. It's also about lifting the profile of regional Australia and creating awareness of the fact every Australian owes their lifestyle to regional Australia.
"Regional Australia provides the water city people drink, the milk on their breakfast, the meat and vegetables for dinner, the gas to cook dinner and heat water, and the electricity which powers their households.
"Investing in our regions is essential for Australia—strong regions mean a strong nation.
"A 'one-size-fits-all' approach to developing regional policy does not work. Regions 2030 focuses on working with communities to meet their economic and social needs, which will help to improve life for rural, regional and remote Australians."
According to Ms Nash, this commitment is being delivered through investment and activity across five focus areas across government:
- Jobs and economic development;
- Education; and
"Regions 2030 and the Regional Australia Ministerial Taskforce, chaired by the Prime Minister, will continue to consider policies which take advantage of the opportunities available and tackle the challenges facing regional Australia," Mr Nash said.
The Minister said the announcement follows the release of the 2017–18 Federal Budget earlier this month, which she said reinforced the Coalition Government's commitment to unlock the potential of Australia's regions, including measures such as:
- An additional $8.4 billion in new equity funding to construct Inland Rail.
- An extra $200 million for the Building Better Regions Fund, bringing the total amount in the fund to almost $500 million.
- $272 million to provide grants of $10 million or more for major projects to unlock the potential of regions, helping take advantage of new opportunities and potentially spur new industries.
- Lower taxes for small business.
- The structured decentralisation of Australian Government jobs from Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.
- Increased access for rural and remote Australians to psychological services via telehealth.
- Expanding community-owned university training hubs, which will allow students to study any university course in Australia from the region they grew up in.
More information about 'Regions 2030: Unlocking Opportunity' is available from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website at <http://regional.gov.au/regions2030>.