Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock has announced details of the State Government’s new one-off $10 million Jobs Accelerator Fund for the regions, which is part of the $39 million package secured for the regions for this financial year.
The package includes the enhanced $15 million Regional Development Fund, which was split into five funding programs for this year.
According to the Minister, two of these programs – the $1.88 million Small Grants Program and the $8.55 million Major Projects Program – are heavily oversubscribed.
“Therefore, it’s been decided to use $2.6 million from the Jobs Accelerator Fund to partially meet the oversubscription in the Regional Development Fund. This will help fast-track jobs growth and investment opportunities for regional South Australia. A new $4 million regional loans scheme will also be set up under the Jobs Accelerator Fund to complement the Regional Development Fund programs,” Mr Brock said.
“This new loan scheme is being established because there could be particular circumstances where a loan or a combination of a loan and a grant may be better suited for individual proposals. Applicants taking up either of these options will be able to apply for a loan ranging from $500,000 up to $2 million. Full details of how to apply for the loans will be available shortly.”
He said the purpose of the loan must relate to improving business operations through infrastructure expansion or developing new markets with projects involving local employment and procurement strategies being considered favourably.
“The third part of the Jobs Accelerator Fund will be $1.4 million towards new Indigenous economic development in the North-West Pastoral region,” Mr Brock said.
“Indigenous land owners currently hold up to three million hectares of pastoral land in the region, so there’s a real opportunity to return some of those properties to primary production to develop viable and sustainable grazing operations in the future and create job opportunities.”
The Indigenous Land Corporation will be contracted to manage the funding for Indigenous employment on behalf of the Kokatha Pastoral Development Project and the APY Pastoral Enterprise.
“The program will involve recruiting up to 14 Indigenous employees over two years to build a skilled team of workers able to take up opportunities in pastoral property development, grazing operations or other job opportunities in the region,” Mr Brock said.
“Implementation of the Kokatha project will commence immediately in parallel with planning for the APY Pastoral Enterprise. The Kokatha project will provide employment and work-based training to the local community and other Aboriginal people from the region. Training in the grazing enterprise will be geared towards feeding job seekers into employment in the agricultural and mining sectors .”
Indigenous Land Corporation Executive Director of Program delivery, Craig North welcomed the State government initiative saying that it would help create jobs and assistance in bringing Indigenous-owned land into production.
“We are keen to work with the State Government through this new fund and share our knowledge in running successful large-scale land management employment and training projects,” Mr North said.
“There is enormous potential in the North-West Pastoral region and increased production on Indigenous-held land would not only benefit local communities, but also help grow the South Australian economy.”
According to Minister Brock, the remaining $2 million allocation in the Jobs Accelerator Fund will be applied to regional initiatives or project opportunities that arise in the future.