Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean Calls for New Focus & Stronger Partnerships to Drive Economic Development in Regional Australia
Armidale, NSW, Australia (News4us.com) February 18, 2011
The Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean in the opening speech to a major summit in Armidale has called for a new focus and stronger partnerships to drive economic development in regional Australia.
Mr Crean said there was a unique opportunity to unlock the economic potential of regional Australia and help deliver sustainable national economic growth.
“This Government is determined to drive a permanent reshaping of our economy by unleashing the economic potential of the regions and delivering sustainable national economic growth – beyond the mining boom,” Mr Crean said.
“This is a unique opportunity to advance economic development with the Federal Government investing $10 billion in regional Australia, the rollout of the National Broadband Network and a chance to work in partnership to drive greater strategic investment in the regions.
“In this spirit of cooperation, I today announce the Federal Government will invest a further $500,000 in the Evocities program promoting seven NSW inland regional centres as places to live, work and invest.
“The seven regional cities benefitting from the promotion are Albury, Armidale, Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga.
“The new funding will be matched by a contribution of $280,000 from local governments and a further $300,000 from the private sector for the second stage of the program. This is a concrete example of the Federal Government working in partnership to deliver for regional Australia.
“The program encourages Sydney residents to move to a regional city in New South Wales and enjoy a lower cost of living, career and business opportunities and a great lifestyle,” Mr Crean said.
“Early research indicates that more than 30 per cent of Sydneysiders have considered a move to one of the seven Evocities. The program was launched in September, 2010, with a $1.2 million contribution from the Federal Government plus funding from the NSW State Government, local governments and the private sector,” Mr Crean said.
Mr Crean made the funding announcement during the opening address to a major regional summit at the University of New England in Armidale called “Setting the Agenda for Regional Futures” where there was a strong focus on the rollout of the NBN and the benefits it will deliver for regional Australia.
“Super fast internet through the NBN can overcome the barrier of distance in regional Australia and keep people and communities connected – no matter where they are. The transformative potential of the NBN for regional Australia is immense,” Mr Crean said.
Mr Crean was introduced by the Independent MP and Member for New England Tony Windsor. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is also a keynote speaker at the conference.
Mr Crean said that much of regional Australia had suffered during the recent natural disasters but was greatly impressed by the resilience of communities and their determination to rebuild.
“The Federal Government is determined to help communities rebuild with a $5.6 billion rebuilding package and has already offered $2 billion to Queensland and $500 million to Victoria to start on urgent work,” Mr Crean said.
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