The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has welcomed new Federal Government support for regional and remote communities hard-hit by Covid-19, drought, and last summer’s bushfires.
Today’s announcements by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack include two new initiatives – a Regional Recovery Partnerships Program and Resilient Regional Leaders Initiative – as well as $30 million in additional funding for the Regional Connectivity Program.
The Regional Recovery Partnerships program is aimed at helping areas recover from the effects of pandemic and fires and enabling them to diversify their economies, while the new $5 million Resilient Regional Leaders Initiative will support current and emerging leaders to further develop their leadership skills.
The initiatives follow other recent announcements by Mr McCormack, including an extra $290 million in federal funding for Round 5 of the Bridges Renewal Program (BRP) and Round 7 of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP) – with 80 percent of the grants going to local councils.
ALGA President David O’Loughlin thanked Mr McCormack on behalf of local governments – hailing the initiatives as a positive development at a time when many regional communities are still reeling from the cumulative effect of Covid-19 and natural disasters.
“These initiatives will greatly benefit their recovery from these unprecedented events, and deliver them a brighter, more sustainable economic future,” he said.
“Tourism, for instance, is a sector on which many regions rely heavily, and which local communities are keen to develop further.
“The extra $30 million being made available under the existing Regional Connectivity Program will help bookend the $50 million Regional Tourism Recovery initiative and the $200 million earmarked for a new grant round of the Building Better Regions Fund (BRRF), and enable that development to go ahead.
“ALGA has long argued for eliminating communications and road safety blackspots and boosting investment in roads and bridges improvements to increase freight productivity and lower input costs for Australian exporters.
“All these initiatives will help deliver that and enable the regions to bounce back from what has been one of the most tumultuous periods in recent history.”
Mayor O’Loughlin also praised the far-sighted nature of the Building Resilient Regional Leaders Initiative.
“The development of skilled, capable, and confident voices at the local level will ensure recovery and resilience efforts are more effective now and in the long run.”
Mayor O’Loughlin said local government leaders looked forward to working with their communities to maximise the benefits of the new initiatives.