The Victorian Coalition Government’s flagship $1 billion Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is having a profound impact on jobs, growth and development across regional and rural Victoria.
Speaking in Parliament this week, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said in its first 12 months the RGF had supported over 450 projects valued at more than $368 million.
“Since coming into office the Coalition Government’s package of regional programs has facilitated regional investment projects resulting in the creation of almost 1,400 new jobs, spearheaded by the RGF,” Mr Ryan said.
“The Coalition Government’s investment in important community driven projects under the RGF is driving major flow-on benefits including increased private-sector investment and overall business confidence.”
Mr Ryan said the RGF comprised four primary funding streams that were driving jobs and investment across regional and rural areas.
- Strategic Projects - Economic Infrastructure Program: has so far supported 22 major infrastructure projects representing $64.5 million worth of direct government investment for projects worth nearly $200 million. These projects alone are estimated to create 943 direct full-time jobs, more than 2,100 indirect jobs, 1,034 jobs during the construction phase and support the retention of 2,417 existing jobs;
- The $100 million Putting Locals First Program: 103 projects have been supported under this stream worth more than $7.7 million;
- The $100 million Local Government Infrastructure Program: provides rural and regional councils with much-needed funding certainty. Under this stream councils have complete flexibility to direct funds to important community projects such as $2 million towards the Bendigo Library and Community Hub project and $1 million towards the Benalla Library Civic Centre Conversion; and
- $100 million Energy for the Regions: Huntly and Mildura will be the first two communities to benefit under this program, with projects to get underway in each community to significantly enhance access to natural gas for homes and businesses. Work will continue on delivering natural gas to the remaining priority communities.
Mr Ryan said it was exciting to see to tangible on-the-ground benefits being generated as a result of RGF investment.
“The Coalition Government’s recent investment in the Mildura Airport Redevelopment Project has already leveraged major improvements to air services for the community with Regional Express Airlines committing to establish services to and from Sydney, Adelaide and Broken Hill,” Mr Ryan said.
“A $2 million RGF investment in Hazeldene’s Chickens near Bendigo has supported an $8.7 million energy and water project which was expected to create 100 new jobs in the region.
“Geelong’s $45 million Library and Heritage Centre project received a $15 million RGF injection creating 17 direct ongoing jobs and supporting the development of arts and culture in the community. Almost 300 people will be employed during the construction phase.
“A project to expand industrial land in Horsham has also received support under the RGF. The project is expected to generate 112 new jobs, 97 indirect jobs and 13 construction jobs in a much-needed boost for this rural community.”
Mr Ryan said the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund would continue to be the flag bearer for development in regional and rural Victoria.
“Victoria is blessed with some of the most beautiful, productive and scenic country side in Australia underpinning vibrant and innovative regional and rural communities.
“To date, the RGF has been a wonderful success for the regions and the great news is that the fund is secured over eight years, regardless of who is in government, ” Mr Ryan said.
“The Coalition Government will continue to work closely with these communities to support locally driven projects that drive growth, development and better quality of life for regional and rural Victorians.”