The State Government of South Australia has announced that it has expanded the Regional Development Fund from $1.6 million to $15 million per year as part of the $39 million package intended to stimulate economic growth and generate numerous jobs in the regions.
According to the news release by Premier Jay Weatherill and Minister Geoff Brock, the $15 million annual funding will be allocated through five new programs: the Major Projects Program ($8.55 million); the Community Infrastructure Program ($3 million); the Small Grants Program ($3 million); the Regional Food Initiatives Program ($300,000); and the Country Communities Cabinet Program ($150,000).
“The increase in the fund is part of the $39 million package negotiated with Mr Brock that will be spent be in the regions over the next 12 months, including $10 million for a one-off Jobs Accelerator Fund. After the March election I acknowledged that it was clear we had work to do to re-establish confidence in our regional communities,” Premier Weatherill said.
“Since then we’ve set up a high-powered Regional Cabinet Committee, chaired by Minister Brock and including four other Ministers, which held its first meeting last month. The first of three Country Cabinet meetings outside of Adelaide this year will be held in the Riverland later this month as part of the Government’s Charter for Stronger Regional Policy.”
The Premier also revealed that the newly set up division — Regions SA, within the Department of Primary Industries and Regions — will provide the regions with a strong voice in government.
“We want these projects to be jobs-driven and I encourage individuals and groups from across regional SA, including local government, Regional Development Australia Boards, private enterprise, community groups and the wider community to take advantage of the increased funding on offer,” said Mr Brock.
“Since becoming a Minister, I’ve travelled widely across regional South Australia and have been impressed by the optimism in local communities and the range of innovative ideas put to me about further growing our regional economy.”
“Expressions of Interest” for two of the programs — Regional Food Initiatives and Small Grants — are open until 27 June 2014.
Information for the enhanced Regional Development Fund is available at www.pir.sa.gov.au/rdf