$4.3 billion for regional Australia
The Federal Government has announced a $4.3 billion injection for regional Australia in the nation’s budget.
"This Budget builds on the record investment in the transport, water, energy, health, education and communication infrastructure of our regions by committing $4.3 billion, commencing 1 July 2011," Federal Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government Simon Crean said.
The following initiatives have been announced in the package
- $1.8 billion over six years to provide critical infrastructure upgrades to hospitals and health services for regional Australians through the Health and Hospitals Fund regional priority rounds;
- $500 million over five years to strengthen regional higher education and vocational education and training institutions, through the regional priorities round of the Education Investment Fund;
- $109.9 million over four years for universities with regional campuses through increased and better targeted loading payments to regional areas;
- $916 million for the first projects under the Regional Infrastructure Fund
- $1 billion over five years through the Regional Development Australia Fund to finance infrastructure projects that best fit the economic and community needs of the regions;
- Bringing forward the introduction of wireless and satellite services as part of the National Broadband Network roll out
- Improving transport infrastructure, including upgrading the Hume, Pacific, Bruce and New England highways and investing in freight rail through the Australian Rail Track Corporation;
- National Health and Hospitals Network reform
- An investment of $20.3 million to strengthen the Regional Development Australia network;
- An investment package for Evocities in promoting the lifestyle and business opportunities offered in regional centres.
The Government has also announced funding for the MyRegion website, with $4.2 million to be rolled out over four years. The site, due to go live in July, will be aimed at providing information about government services and expenditure in regional Australia.