May 18, 2009

Rudd Labor Government delivering record funding for regional communities

Rudd Labor Government delivering record funding for regional communities – including Mallee


The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

May 18 2009

The Rudd Labor Government is delivering record funding for regional communities around Australia, including more than $11.7 million in new community infrastructure funding this year for the Federal Member for Mallee’s electorate.

Regional Development Minister, Anthony Albanese today called on John Forrest, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary and Member for Mallee, to acknowledge the record funding for Regional Development that has been delivered by the Rudd Government.

Through the Rudd Government’s $800 million Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program (RLCIP), we have provided $11.7 million in brand new funding for 81 projects in Mallee over the last five months. [Full list attached]

One of those projects is $5 million for the Horsham Town Hall, which Mr Forrest lobbied the Government to fund despite voting with the Liberals against the RLCIP in Parliament just months ago.

This is real funding for real community construction projects which will make a genuine difference to the lives of Mr Forrest’s constituents – in communities such as Mildura, Merbein, Swan Hill and Nhill.

In comparison, the discredited Regional Partnerships program was $70 million a year – less than one-tenth of the RLCIP.

We are also overhauling the old Area Consultative Committees into Regional Development Australia, a modern, one-stop shop for communities seeking assistance from the federal, state and local government.

The Government is restoring the Regional Development Australia network’s role in providing high level strategic advice to all three levels of government, and their level of funding is appropriate for that function.

Under the previous government, the ACCs largely processed funding applications, and even then, 80 per cent of applications were incomplete and led to extended delays.

The Rudd Government is working with state and local governments on an orderly transition to regional Development Australia.

In addition to $11.7 million for new community projects this year in the electorate of Mallee, the Rudd Government is delivering more than $45 million in financial assistance grants for Local Government, $9.9 million for upgrades for local roads, $2 million to upgrade 20 road black spots and boom gates or other safety measures at eight rail crossings.

John Forrest should get fair dinkum and acknowledge this record support for his local community and others in regional Australia that is being delivered by the Rudd Government.