Released: Guidelines for the RDA Fund
The Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean today released the program guidelines for the Regional Development Australia Fund.
The Regional Development Australia Fund is a $1 billion five-year program that will boost economic and community development and is part of a $1.4 billion commitment to regional Australia announced last week.
The Regional Development Australia Fund is a concrete demonstration of the Federal Government's commitment to furthering development in the regions, Mr Crean said.
This is a new approach to unlocking the potential of Australia's regions through a program that focuses on locally driven solutions to regional needs.
With the release of the guidelines, I am looking forward to receiving strong, well-researched, strategic applications for projects that stack up. The funds are for projects that help skill Australia, lift productivity, maximise the opportunity of broadband, sustain our environment, promote social inclusion and improve water and energy efficiency.
The allocation of funding will be competitive, merit-based and only applications that have been endorsed by the local Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees and fit with RDA regional plans will be considered, Mr Crean said.
An independent panel will be established to assess and provide advice on projects to be funded.
Resources for the Regional Development Australia Fund have been allocated as part of a $1.4 billion agreement struck with the Independents last September.
Delivering on the agreement, the Federal Government has announced more than $1 billion will be available under the Regional Development Australia Fund, which is in addition to the $350 million already committed to rebuild regional Australia devastated by recent natural disasters. Applications require RDA and Local Government involvement.
The Fund is comprised of $450 million from the Priority Regional Infrastructure Program and $573 million from the Regional Infrastructure Fund which is funded from the Minerals Resource Rent Tax.
Key features of projects that are being sought under this program include:
- delivery of concrete economic and social benefits
- commitment to innovation and building capacity in local communities
- linking regional communities across traditional boundaries
- ability to leverage additional funding across government and the private sector.
Examples of projects that could be funded include regional economic infrastructure projects and community infrastructure such as sporting facilities or childcare centres.
Funding for projects will commence on July 1, 2011 with applications for the first funding round of up to $100 million closing on May 13, 2011. This will ensure that shovel-ready projects will be in a position to commence on July 1.
There will be a further funding round announced later this year.
The program guidelines for the Fund can be found at: www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs/rdaf.aspx.