Australia

$200m available for second round of regional development fund

A FURTHER $200 million is now available for Round Two of the $1 billion Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF), Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean announced yesterday.

The opening of Round Two follows the announcement of $150 million of funding for 35 projects in September by the Australian Government, as part of Round One of the RDAF, a five-year regional funding program.

Opening the newest RDAF round, Mr Crean said the Australian Government would continue to work in close partnership with local communities to drive growth and development across Australia's regions.

"With our economy in transition, the Australian Government is engaging the regions to identify new opportunities to diversify and strengthen their economic base," Mr Crean said.

Following Round One, the Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel, Christian Zahra, was asked to conduct a review in order to strengthen and streamline the application process, including strengthening the role of Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees in identifying priority needs and projects.

After receiving feedback from local government, not-for-profits and RDA committees, Mr Crean said the guidelines have been revised and refined to encourage stronger, investment-ready applications that have a clear regional benefit.

"For the RDAF to work effectively, proposals must stack up we want well-researched strategic applications that set clear priorities and leverage funds or partnerships investment from local, state government or the private sector."

Mr Crean said any future rounds of RDAF are contingent on the passing of the Mineral Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) through Australian Parliament.

More information on the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF), including Round Two guidelines and fact sheets, is available from the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government website at <http://www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs/rdaf.aspx>.

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