MINISTER for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke, last week announced the opening of applications for the Suburban Jobs Program, which aims to provide employment opportunities in the growing outer suburbs of our major capital cities.
The $45 million Suburban Jobs Program, announced as a measure under the Sustainable Australia - Sustainable Communities Strategy in the 2011-12 Budget, will support local and state governments to plan and help deliver employment opportunities close to residential areas in growing areas of Australia's major capital cities.
Mr Burke encouraged governments, businesses and community organisations to work together to apply for grants under the program.
"This new initiative is about encouraging employment hubs in the outer suburbs of our major cities to balance out some of these differences and provide more opportunities for Australians to share in the benefits of our economic growth," Mr Burke said.
"The distance of existing and planned housing to employment is a growing problem in a number of our major cities – especially in outer metropolitan growth areas."
Mr Burke said that while it is good urban policy to support infill development closer to the central business districts, it is also important to plan for new jobs and hubs of employment in new residential areas.
The Suburban Jobs Program will support projects that help deliver improved employment distribution outside the CBDs of major capital cities, providing local jobs and aiming to make the growing suburbs more liveable.
Under the program, the government will contribute grant funding to projects that include public good capital works, along with activities like planning or research, data collection, community engagement initiatives, or demonstrations of how to best make use of the digital economy to provide local employment opportunities.
"The Gillard Government is committed to creating a sustainable Australia – a nation of sustainable communities where people want to work and live," Mr Burke said.
Grant applications for the program must be submitted by 17 February 2012 and projects will be selected through a competitive merit-based funding round. More information is available from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website at <http://www.environment.gov.au/sustainability/suburbanjobs/guidelines>.