A new $297million fund that is dedicated to investing in projects in rural, regional and remote communities has been applauded by Northern based Government Senator Ian Macdonald.
Senator Macdonald said the highly anticipated Building Better Regions Fund, which will deliver infrastructure projects and community activities outside major capital cities would be warmly welcomed by local councils and community organisations across the north.
“I am pleased to see the Federal Government has listened to those concerns about previous funding schemes, and has created a new program that better meets the needs of regional communities,” Senator Macdonald said
Funding under the BBRF will be available in two streams:
- The Infrastructure Projects Stream will invest in projects that involve the construction of new infrastructure, or upgrade or extend existing infrastructure
- The Community Investments Stream will invest in local events and activities, strategic regional plans, and leadership and capability building activities.
Senator Macdonald said the key difference between the new Building Better Regions Fund and previous funds is that projects in capital cities will not be eligible under the BBRF guidelines, meaning more available funds for the regions.
There is also a new source of funding available for community projects - the Community Investment Stream, which might help expand a local festival, attract a theatre production or major sporting event to the region, or leadership or business training for locals.
Other important changes include:
- a new social benefit criteria, to allow applicants to show how their project will make their region a more attractive place to live or improve social connections,
- projects in remote and very remote areas will also receive loading on their project score, and will not need to produce 1:1 funding.
- applications will be assessed against projects of a similar size, so small community projects aren’t competing against larger, more expensive projects
The Program Guidelines for the BBRF will outline the type of project proposals sought, how to lodge an application, how assessment will be conducted and critical program dates.
Applications for the Building Better Regions Fund, which replaces the former National Stronger Regions Fund, can be submitted from 18 January, 2017. Full details are available at www.business.gov.au/bbrf.