The Federal Government has funded another 163 new local and community infrastructure projects nationwide, under Round 4 of its Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).

Successful local infrastructure projects include:

  • Tenterfield Water Treatment Plant replacement, New South Wales ($2,645,000)
  • Disability Respite Care Facility in Goondiwindi, Queensland ($589,523)
  • Construction of Ravensthorpe Cultural precinct in Western Australia ($5,275,800)
  • Extension of Bogan Shire Medical Centre in Nyngan, New South Wales ($350,218)
  • WQLX Transit and Spelling Facility upgrade in Longreach, Queensland ($719,548)
  • WINGS ‘Our Youth, Our Future’ Redevelopment in Wilcannia NSW (The project will demolish the aged corrugated iron building and construct a new purpose-built facility) ($1,656,150).

These will be delivered along with community-building initiatives such as:

  • Cooper Coast Food Art and Wine Festival in Kadina, South Australia ($27,000)
  • Economic Security4Women Connection program, Queensland ($20,000)
  • Granite Belt Bites, Beats & Bounce (youth-focused event promoting music, food and physical activity) in Stanthorpe, Queensland ($20,000).
  • Narrungdera Earth Fest Creative Economy Project in Narrandera, NSW ($136,675)

This funding injection comes at a critical time for drought-affected communities.

Many regional Australians are experiencing the worst drought in living memory – some dealing with this stress for more than a decade.

While recent rainfall in many regional areas has resulted in the best start to a winter cropping season in a long time and the forecasts are for above average rainfall, the effects of the long dry spell are expected to be felt for many months – if not years – to come.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the 163 funded projects will collectively work towards building confidence and creating jobs and local procurement in areas that need it most.

“Regional Australia has withstood one of the most devastating bushfire seasons, floods and now a global pandemic – to say they’ve been hit hard in recent times, is an understatement,” Mr McCormack said.

“Their strength and spirit will lead Australia’s recovery through grass-roots projects – creating jobs, boosting local economies and growing confidence in regional communities as a great place to live, work and invest.

“We have seen great outcomes from the first three rounds of the BBRF and today’s announcement will build on that.”

Mr McCormack said that all Round 4 projects would strengthen local economies and drive job creation, with thousands of jobs expected to be supported throughout regional Australia, delivering career pathways and enabling people to stay in the communities in which they grew up.

Federal Minister for Drought, David Littleproud, said past BBRF rounds have supported transformative projects such as the substantial upgrade to Australia’s largest beef saleyards, in Roma, Queensland.

“This project, just one example of the hundreds BBRF has invested in, was completed in January thanks to $3.9 million in Australian Government funding and supported 60 positions while delivering lasting infrastructure which will bolster the local beef industry and economy for years to come,” Mr Littleproud said.

“We’ve also supported critical tourist drawcards such as the Peter Allen Festival in Tenterfield and the Kingaroy BaconFest, which injected much-needed cash flow into our regional communities and ensure Australia’s beautiful and diverse regions remain renowned world-wide.

“This latest round is an opportunity to support and work together with the one and a half million Australians affected by drought.”

Federal Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, Nola Marino, said regional Australians have an unmatched spirit and resilience.

“Rural and regional Australians are coming together and supporting each other through these tough times and it is important that this latest round of BBRF is providing much-needed support to hard-hit regional communities at a crucial time,” Ms Marino said.

“Through the BBRF, the Australian Government is continuing its commitment to regional Australia, making vital local projects a reality, driving economic development and creating stronger partnerships across our regional communities.

“It is programs such as BBRF which ensure our regions remain strong and prosperous in the long term. I look forward to seeing these projects transform their local towns and communities and unlock regional Australia’s economic potential.”

A full list of successful projects is available here.

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