Thursday 20th September 2018

Supporting The NSW Forestry Industry

The NSW Government will fund new innovative forestry projects aimed at improving profitability, opening up new local and international markets, and preparing for future opportunities.

Minister for Lands and Forestry Paul Toole said applications would soon open for the first round of the $34 million Forest Industries Innovation Fund.

“As part of the 2018-19 Budget, I announced a $71.8 million forestry package across four years, aimed at supporting the industry and keeping jobs in our regions,” Mr Toole said.

“The Innovation Fund will provide loans of up to $3 million for a range of projects such as timber mill infrastructure upgrades, development of new products, or initiatives that open new markets.

“We want to see industry take control of their future and develop new programs that support their local businesses.

“The $2.4 billion NSW forest and wood product industry is an economic driver for the regions and I am pleased to be delivering this support for jobs.”

Applications will be open for six weeks from 1 October, with successful projects able to access concessional loans of 2.5 per cent for up to 20 years.

The Forest Industries Innovation Fund supports the objectives of the NSW Forestry Industry Roadmap and will be administered by the Rural Assistance Authority.

Eligibility guidelines, application form and other information will be available on the RAA website ( from 1 October.

MEDIA: Eleisha Rogers 0439 867 112 

Paul Toole
Minister for Lands & Forestry
Minister for Racing

Friday 24th August 2018

RDA Murray Networks Nationally

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PHOTO: Denis Wager, Chairman Wagners, with RDA-Murray Chair Perin Davey and DRD Edwina Hayes.

The Regional Development Australia (RDA) National Forum held in Canberra last week was the perfect opportunity for the new leadership team to build networks and develop partnerships with like minded RDAs from across Australia.

RDA-Murray Chair, Perin Davey, and newly appointed Director of Regional Development, Edwina Hayes, attended the forum where the focus was on facilitating innovation and using networks to attract investment.

“The forum was an opportunity for us to meet people from other RDAs and hear about what others are doing to see what may work for us or look for opportunities to partner on initiatives where there is common benefit,” Ms Davey said.

“We sat down with our immediate neighbours, RDA-Riverina and Hume RDA from Victoria and it is clear there is a lot that we can be doing together to promote our region and to get positive outcomes.

“It was also an opportunity for us to discuss our priority issues such as skilled migration, employment, new industries and transport.

“Coincidentally the keynote speaker for the forum dinner was Denis Wagner from Wagners, owners of the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport so I got the opportunity to speak to him about the Deniliquin airport proposal,” she said.

Mrs Hayes said the forum gave her the opportunity to speak to key stakeholders including Austrade to discuss how they can support trade and investment opportunities in our region.

“The forum was really positive and very timely in informing our priorities and being able to express fresh ideas and new thinking from the Murray Region amongst our federal colleagues,” she said.

“I took so much out of it, the focus now is to sit down and prioritise what we can do to make sure that what we do has purpose, represents our stakeholders and will build our regional capacity.”

Wednesday 20th June 2018

Helping Regions Be Ready For Inland Rail

The Liberal and Nationals Government has today announced the development of a strategic planning tool to support the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail, led by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI).

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said the ‘Are you Ready for Inland Rail?’ tool will help regional Australians maximise the benefits of Inland Rail.

“This tool will outline the information regional communities need to consider to best prepare and take advantage of the long term benefits of this corridor of commerce,” Mr McCormack said.

“The RAI has a great track record in developing strategic regional planning tools, to help regions across Australia maximise their growth and development.”

Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann said the $9.3 billion commitment by the Australian Government to deliver the Inland Rail will ensure a fast, reliable and modern rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane, adding more than $16 billion to the Australian economy.

“The Inland Rail delivers the infrastructure required to ensure that Australia’s supply chain remains competitive into the future,” Senator Cormann said.

“Not only does this provide a long-term solution for national freight task, it provides infrastructure that will help to grow economic opportunity throughout regional Australia.”

Minister for Regional Development John McVeigh said the Inland Rail Regional Liaison Offices will work with communities utilising the tool to take advantage of long term benefits for regions.

“Staff from the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities will be working with businesses and communities along the alignment to understand how they can make the most of this major investment in freight infrastructure,” Dr McVeigh said.

“The long term benefits of Inland Rail for regional Australia will be most effectively led by regional communities, and this tool will help regional communities to achieve this.

“The Regional Australia Institute, tasked with developing this tool, is an important advocate for regional communities and I am pleased we have been able to provide additional support for the RAI in this year’s Federal Budget.”

Regional Australia Institute CEO Jack Archer said for those regions along the Inland Rail route, being able to capitalise on the benefits it will bring is dependent on having a well planned and executed strategic plan.

“The planning tool, which every region will be able to access and benefit from, regardless of their size or resource constraints, will help communities prepare for this once in a generation opportunity,” Jack Archer said.
The ‘Are You Ready for Inland Rail’ strategic planning tool will be available from September 2018

For further infomation, pelase contact: 

Shane Sykes
Inland Rail Regional Liaison Officer Wodonga
Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities

Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Council Backs Agricultural Hub 


Murray River Council has committed $5,000 to support the potential establishment of a Multidisciplinary Research & Education Centre in Barham. 

Driven by the Western Murray Land Improvement Group Inc, RDA Murray and a number of local organisations, the initiative looks to decentralise agricultural research and education currently being undertaken by Universities in major cities.  

The proposed facility could incorporate an Agri-tech Centre (agricultural innovation hub, equipment testing, and agriculture extension), co-working space for private and public sector research, a base for natural resource management and cultural heritage research and education. The Centre’s proposed location is the former Catholic School building in Thule Street Barham, which has been vacant for some years.  Council’s funding support will enable the recently formed steering group to lease the building for a period of 12-months to ensure the Church will not consider any other offers for the property whilst they further develop the business case for the proposed centre. 

Murray River Council Mayor, Cr Chris Bilkey believes the proposed facility is perfectly located to act as a hub for research, education, tourism and extension. “The potential Multidisciplinary Research & Education Centre is located in a prime region of the floodplain in the mid-Murray delta area of the Edward Wakool system.” “Furthermore, this region has high environmental biodiversity, is centred on RAMSAR sites and has a solid and diversified agricultural base,” he said 

Cr Bilkey said that the idea of a facility of this nature has a lot of potential and also supports local employment rather than using the current model of fly-in fly-out workers such as those working on MDBA and Commonwealth Environmental Water Office funded projects in the region. “We will be doing all we can to see this concept come to fruition,” he said.  

Murray River Council will have representation on the steering committee, along with a number of other local and regional stakeholders. With funds now in place to secure the 12-month lease on the facility, the steering committee will scope-out feasible options and develop a business case and prospectus for the centre.  The Western Murray Land Improvement Group Inc has indicated that they will also now move into the facility as paying tenants for the 12-month lease period. 



Further information:

Courtney Dean, Communications Coordinator, 0428 329 545,

Cr Chris Bilkey, Mayor, 0439 163 272

Monday 14th May 2018

Charles Sturt University and Regional Development Australia - Murray release collaborative study on the economic health of the region

A JOINT study on the economic health of the Murray region has been released.

Charles Sturt University and Regional Development Australia – Murray collaborated on the research involving Federation, Greater Hume, Berrigan, Murray River and Edward River councils.

The results of the study will be released at community meetings on May 15.

The community meetings will run for two hours from 9am at Jindera Community Hub and 1pm at Federation Council Chambers at Corowa.

For more details contact Mark Morrison at Charles Sturt University via email or phone (02) 6338 4253.

The Border Mail: Jodie Bruton April 13th 2018

Perin Davey Announced as the New Chair of RDA Murray


Executive officer Dr Gary Saliba and Ms Perin Davey

Image: Deniliquin Pastoral Times


Federal Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, Dr John McVeigh recently announced Perin Davey as the new chair of Regional Development Australia Murray.

Ms Davey is a government relations and regulatory affairs professional specialising in regional industries.  She runs her own communications and engagement consultancy servicing a range of clients including government agencies, industry representative groups and private enterprise.  Ms Davey has been appointed to several key advisory bodies including the NSW Primary Industries Ministerial Advisory Council and Telstra’s NSW Regional Advisory Council and was formerly a member of the Federal Agricultural Industries Advisory Council. Ms Davey has a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations from the University of Southern Queensland and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors as well as being the current Chair of Outback Theatre for Young People.

RDA - Murray’s primary role is to bring together partnerships between whole of government, regional development organisations, the private sector and other key regional stakeholders. Ms Davey has a wealth of experience working for Australia’s largest private irrigation network on water policy and reform and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, as well as more than seven years’ experience working in Canberra for an international government relations and communications consultancy firm. She brings a depth of knowledge and understanding of agricultural and regional issues that will only strengthen RDA – Murray’s holistic approach to economic development in the Murray region.

Looking towards the future Ms Davey will “work with the RDA on key issues such as logistics and connectivity.” She said she is eager to promote the positives of the region and to raise its profile for investment. She believes it is about “big picture thinking, to try and bring this region in to the future.’’Her first point of call will be working with the committee to design the 2019-2022 Regional Plan.‘‘It is important to acknowledge the work that has been done in developing a really good regional plan, to 2019 and for me it’s about building upon that.” Ms Davey Said.



Casey Bootsma

Marketing, Communication’s and Projects Officer

RDA Murray

MARCH 23 2018 - 12:30PM

Albury-Wodonga gets rail liaison officer at new inland rail office

RAIL BENEFITS: Michael McCormack says inland will create jobs.

One of three offices for the inland rail project will be located in Albury-Wodonga.
Farrer MP Sussan Ley said the appointment of a regional liaison officer would help Border businesses and communities capitalise on the economic and social opportunities of inland rail.
"Staff from the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities will work with people on the ground through southern NSW and Victoria to maximise local procurement and employment opportunities," she said.
"The Albury-Wodonga office will have responsibility for maximising the benefits from inland rail in the region, providing us with a huge potential employment boost.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack said the project would lead to thousands of jobs.
"Inland rail is about creating new growth opportunities for regional communities, and creating expanded career pathways for people living in regional Australia," he said.

Shana Morgan : Border Mail

Thursday 29 Mar 2018

CSU named one of Top Emerging Engineering Schools in World

- A new study commissioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology identifies Charles Sturt University as one of the top 4 emerging  engineering schools in the world.

- CSU ‘completely rethinking what engineering education should look like’.

- CSU will be a benchmark for how MIT supports its own program of reform in undergraduate engineering. 

- Others universities in the emerging field: University College London, Singapore University of Technology and Design and University of Technology Delft.

report commissioned by global leader in engineering education and research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has identified Charles Sturt University (CSU) as one of the top four emerging engineering courses in the world and has described the CSU degree as ‘completely rethinking what engineering educating should look like’.

The recognition of CSU Engineering is the result of a benchmarking study of global state-of-the-art undergraduate engineering. The study, which was commissioned by MIT’s New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) initiative, a program of reform in undergraduate engineering education at the Institute, and authored by Ruth Graham, was released on March 27.

The MIT-commissioned report canvassed opinions from a wide range of international experts, and CSU was chosen among a small group of universities as an emerging leader in engineering education, which puts Charles Sturt University’s new engineering program alongside renowned engineering education names; University College London (UCL), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), and University of Technology Delft (TU Delft).

CSU Vice-Chancellor Professsor Andrew Vann said being able to influence global practice in engineering education demonstrates that innovation is alive and well in regional Australia.

We knew as the 37th engineering school in Australia we had to offer something unique and radically different to producing entrepreneurial engineers....graduates with technical excellence wrapped in communication, financial and management intelligence, produce ‘entrepreneurial engineers’ with technical experience tackling authentic engineering problems right across the nation.

“To be identified by this MIT-commissioned study as an engineering degree of the future and a global leader in engineering education is a major coup for Charles Sturt University.  It gives us the confidence to keep pushing the boundaries to meet the changing expectations and needs of students, employers and society into the future,” Vice-Chancellor Professor Vann said.

The report describes CSU Engineering as creating a ‘new chapter in engineering education’ by offering a radically different approach to undergraduate engineering education that focuses on human-centred engineering and diverse opportunities for students to explore authentic problems using state-of-the-art technology.

Foundation Professor of Engineering Euan Lindsay said for this model to work the degree had to be something completely out of the box.

“Our program allows opportunities for students to explore and apply engineering learning through authentic problems through four year-long paid placements in the workforce.

“This is a program that trains student engineers not engineering students. The difference is when our students go out into work placement after only 18 months on campus, we are told they are acting like the graduates from other more traditional engineering degrees.

“The way we treat the student engineers as professionals in training is a cultural shift for university education and a defining feature of CSU Engineering,” Professor Lindsay concluded.

Background information:

> CSU Engineering Is the only Australian engineering degree hosted in a Business Faculty.

>  CSU Engineering started in 2016 and the first Bachelor of Technology/Master of Engineeering (Civil Systems) graduates will complete the degree in 2021.

> First three semesters are on campus working in an award-winning, purpose-built high tech engineering laboratory followed by four years of paid work placements.

-> Students are mentored by a diverse academic team drawn from Australia and the world.

> The program has neither formal lectures nor exams; instead learning is focused around project-based challenges where student engineers tackle authentic engineering problems supported by skills and knowledge content that they access at their own pace.

> Key focus on self-directed learning delivered through CSU online with course progress directed by students, as and when they need it.

> Underpinning technical content delivered online and “on-demand” through the CSU Engineering Topic Tree, offering bite-sized content, skills and knowledge rather than traditional semester long courses.

> Work placement element of the program partners with industry host organisations who take on the engineering cadets to complete the four year placements.

> Embedding the course in the Faculty of Business gives students high level skills in engtrepreneurial attitudes, management, systems thinking and self-motivation that enable them to adapt to real world needs and demands of the profession.

> There are 37 universities offering engineering degrees in Australia, producing around 12 000 graduates a year.

Media contact: Victoria Erskine and Clint McGilvray, 0429 217 026 and 0413 285 186

Monday 5 February 2018

New Australian tourism campaign to help attract international visitors to wine regions

Wine Australia has partnered with Tourism Australia in a $36 million marketing campaign in the USA aimed at boosting interest in Australia as a tourism destination.  

The unique campaign, backed by $1.5 million from the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package (the $50m Package), was officially unveiled with a new ad broadcast to a TV audience of more than 100 million people during the ‘Super Bowl’ (Big Game).

Initially giving the appearance of a film trailer for a new Crocodile Dundee movie Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home, the sixty second ad then builds into a spectacular showcase for Australian tourism. Featuring a scene at a winery, the ad stars Chris Hemsworth and Danny McBride drinking Australian wine and praising its quality.

A key focus of the $50m Package is to leverage and grow international tourism to create demand and build awareness for premium Australian wine.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said the new ad broadcast will further strengthen one of Australia’s most important industries.

‘The Australian wine sector has enjoyed significant growth in recent years and the $50m Package aims to build on this, with an ambitious agenda of targeted activities, including marketing campaigns in the USA and China,’ Minister Ruston said.

‘At home, this investment will help to attract up to 40,000 additional international tourists to visit our world-renowned wine regions by 2019–20, delivering an estimated $170 million to the economy.

‘I'm looking forward to seeing the sector leverage these investments as our reputation for producing fine Australian wine continues to build.’

Andreas Clark, CEO of Wine Australia, said this campaign was the perfect opportunity to work with Tourism Australia to promote Australia as a desired destination and to showcase our world-class vineyards to a large and engaged audience. 

‘The exciting, one-off $50 million investment is an opportunity for the wine sector to maintain its competitive edge, thinking bigger, bolder and better than ever before.

The work with Tourism Australia is an initiative to help achieve our tourism objective and drive visitors to Australian wine regions’, he said.

‘Australia’s wine and food offering has truly evolved since Crocodile Dundee was released over 30 years ago.

‘This campaign puts the spotlight on contemporary Australia and we hope it inspires Americans to discover the beauty and sophistication of our wine regions and try some exceptional Australian wine.

‘The Super Bowl has the largest reach of any advertising platform in the USA, with more than 100 million Americans tuning in across the USA and many millions more people globally’, he said.

The investment by Wine Australia amplifies the promotion of Australian wine and wine regions on the world stage and complements the targeted USA marketing campaigns being delivered by Wine Australia to increase awareness of our fine wine offering in the USA under the $50m Package. 

Tourism Australia has developed tailored itineraries including inspired wine and food destination information on to encourage holiday bookings.  

For more information and to view the campaign visit                                           

For further information, please contact:


Amelia Harris

Communications Manager, $50m Package

Phone: +61 437 714 571




Twitter: @Wine_Australia

Instagram: @WineAustralia

Facebook: WineAustralia



About Wine Australia

Wine Australia supports a competitive wine sector by investing in research, development and extension (RD&E), growing domestic and international markets and protecting the reputation of Australian wine.


Wine Australia is funded by grape growers and winemakers through levies and user-pays charges and the Australian Government, which provides matching funding for RD&E investments.

Wine Australia is a Commonwealth statutory authority established under the Wine Australia Act 2013.

Edward River Council and Ausway College seal $1.5 million training deal with China’s Guizhou Province

A NEW Riverina training venture backed by Chinese investment has been given the green light.

Edward River Council and Ausway College sealed the $1.5 million deal with China’s Guizhou Province on Thursday.

Guizhou United Front Work Department Vice Minister Wang Maoai signed a 20-year memorandum of understand with Edward River Council mayor Norm Brennan for a training and research facility for international students at Deniliquin.

The facility will be operated by Ausway College with the Australian Educational Society, which is committed to supporting less privileged Australian and international students.

Regional Development Australia - Murray chairwoman Jennifer Weller welcomed the partnership, which would have its first intake of up to 60 students within 12 months. 

She said it would provide an important platform for technology exchange, international market development and the opportunity to develop a strong relationship at an education and research level with Charles Sturt University.

“The short-term benefits are bringing people into the Deniliquin region and the exchange of technologies,” Ms Weller said.

“The long-term benefits would be direct exports from the region to Asia.”

Jennifer Weller and Guizhou United Front Work Department Vice Minister Wang Maoai

Jennifer Weller and Guizhou United Front Work Department Vice Minister Wang Maoai

The agreement will allow Guizhou Province’s Education Department to send Chinese students to learn about Australia’s agricultural expertise at Ausway College at Deniliquin.

The signing ceremony was a return visit to Australia from Guizhou Province representatives after Edward River Council’s then administrator visited China in July 2017 to initiate the venture.

The agricultural courses will be based at Murray Valley Industry Park, Todd’s Lane, Deniliquin.

Mayor Norm Brennan said Edward River Council was pleased to facilitate the development of an Ausway College campus at Deniliquin.

“Regional Australia has so much to offer international students, and given the Edward River region’s reputation as one of the most agriculturally productive and versatile regions in NSW; Deniliquin is the perfection location for an Ausway College campus,” he said.

“Council recognises the importance of developing a versatile economy, and the international education sector presents exciting opportunities in terms of achieving that goal.”

Ausway College director Patrick Lay said the programs to be rolled out at Deniliquin for students from Guizhou Province would enhance the agricultural and cultural connection between Australia and China.

“Ausway College is aiming to attract international students, particularly from China, to regional Australia, boosting the local economy and better integrating Australia’s agricultural sector to the region,’’ he said.

“The vision of Ausway College is to replicate the business plan being developed in Deniliquin in other regional centres of Australia, to help generate jobs growth and have a positive impact on the local rural and regional communities.

“Graduates might even help fill gaps where there are local skill shortages.”

Ausway College at Deniliquin has entered into a licence agreement to lease Murray Valley Industry Park, which was originally a NSW government research station before coming under control of the former Deniliquin Council.

Media Release

Jodie Burton

Journalist for The Border Mail

12 November 2017



Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro today announced a new $500,000 Murray Darling Regional Business Accelerator Program fund to support businesses in the Murray Darling Basin to undertake new marketing or technology projects.

Mr Barilaro said the program will offer matched funding up to $10,000 for activities including website development, digital media campaigns, or new product packaging.

“Businesses in regional NSW grow and manufacture products that are in demand across the world, and we want to continue to increase our exports to these markets,” Mr Barilaro said.

“This fund will allow the many agricultural and manufacturing businesses already exporting out of the Murray Darling Basin to reach more customers, and in turn employ more people and continue to invest in their local economies,” he said.

The program also supports traditional expansion methods, such as exhibiting at trade shows and multi-channel advertising campaigns.

Griffith-based manufacturing company Flavourtech successfully participated in a pilot program, receiving $10,000 to have its website translated into Chinese and participate in international trade shows.

Leon Skaliotis, Sales and Marketing Director at Flavourtech, said the grant enabled the business to market their products in specific regions, which has directly resulted in a number of international sales.

“The $10,000 allowed us to execute a number of strategic marketing campaigns and speak in front of audiences across the globe. This enabled us to build fantastic relationships that have already converted into sales, plus there are more projects in the pipeline. We’re very thankful of this opportunity,” Mr Skaliotis said.

The Murray Darling Basin Regional Business Accelerator Program is open to eligible businesses based in the Murray Darling Basin that can demonstrate growth potential beyond local markets and which are not solely reliant on local markets for sales.

It is funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program, which is administered by the NSW Government.

For further information about the Murray Darling Business Accelerator Program and guidelines, please contact your local NSW Office of Regional Development.

 Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Sheree Coleman

Southern Cross Austereo
11 Forsyth Street, Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2650

Apply now for round one of the Building Better Regions Fund

  • Specific funding for investment ready projects in regional, rural and remote Australia.
  • Funding will be shared between two streams—infrastructure projects and community investments.
  • Apply now for round one of funding.

Community groups and local governments are encouraged to submit their applications for round one of the Building Better Regions Fund, which will support community and infrastructure projects outside of the major capital cities.

Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash said the fund is dedicated purely as an investment in opportunities across rural, regional and remote Australia.

“The Coalition Government's Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) is designed to invest in projects that will create the kinds of regional communities that our children and grandchildren want to either stay in or come back to,” Minister Nash said.

“The BBRF will give communities the opportunity to think outside the square and show us the types of investments they believe will strengthen their local community and create jobs.

“Applicants should demonstrate how their project will drive economic development, make their region a more attractive place to live and foster partnerships across their community.

“Applications will be assessed in three categories depending on the size of the project—so small community projects are not competing against huge projects worth tens of millions.”

“Flexible, creative thinking can be a winning formula to receive funding, as long as the proposal also provides clear objectives and maps out benefits for the region.

The Program Guidelines for the Building Better Regions Fund outline the type of project proposals sought, how to lodge an application, how assessments will be conducted, and critical program dates.

Information sessions are running across the country to allow applicants the opportunity to find out more about the fund.

Applications will close on Tuesday 28 February 2017 for the Infrastructure Projects Stream and Friday 31 March 2017 for the Community Investments Stream.

To lodge an application or find out about an information session near you, visit

Media Release

Senator the Hon. Fiona Nash

Minister for Regional Development

Minister for Local Government and Territories

18 January 2017

$100M in new funding for bridge upgrades across Australia

The Australian Government is investing $100 million to fund 189 bridges to deliver much-needed economic and safety benefits to communities around Australia under Round Two of the Bridges Renewal Programme.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the Coalition's new Bridges Renewal Programme is proving very popular, with Round Two seeing a significant increase in the number and quality of applications from local governments.

Only councils were eligible to apply for this round and 270 applications seeking around $220 million in Australian Government funding were received, with 141 being successful.

“The Bridges Renewal Programme is designed to bolster the productivity of Australia's local bridges to better serve communities and give councils the support they need to drive greater efficiency in road freight and traffic movement,” Mr Truss said.

“We understand that local government has responsibility for thousands of local bridges, many of which are in a poor state of repair. Some councils face critical bridge issues beyond their capacity to address.

“By upgrading these bridges, residents will enjoy better, safer and more reliable road access. Freight from farms and local factories will also be able to pass more safely along quicker routes, improving their productivity.

“It's a win-win situation. That's why the Coalition Government identified local bridge upgrades and repairs as a national priority and has committed a total of $300 million in funding over five years from 2014–15.

“The Australian Government's financial commitment of $100 million in this round of the programme will be matched by local councils and/or State governments, delivering a total investment of at least $200 million towards upgrading bridges.

“This funding is in addition to the Australian Government's $111 million committed under Round One of the Programme.”

More on the Bridges Renewal Programme, including a full list of successful Round Two projects and details on the application process, is available online at:

Media Release

The Hon. Warren Truss MP, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

18 January 2016

Round Three now open for National Stronger Regions Fund

Applications are now open under Round Three of the $1 billion National Stronger Regions Fund for funding priority infrastructure projects in disadvantaged regional communities.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said Round Three is open to submissions from local governments and not-for-profits from today until 15 March 2016.

“As in previous rounds, I encourage applicants to put forward projects that demonstrate strong economic outcomes and address identified disadvantage, to give themselves the best opportunity for success,” Mr Truss said.

“Funding will be targeted to projects which deliver strong outcomes for local communities.”

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said applications must be for projects between $20,000 with a limit of commonwealth funding of $10 million.

“Grant funding must be matched in cash on at least a dollar-for-dollar basis, with the exception of applicants in remote and very remote locations who will need to contribute at least $1 for every $3 of funding sought,” Mr McCormack said.

“We have introduced less stringent requirements for partner funding in remote and very remote communities in Round Three to make the National Stronger Regions Fund more accessible to these applicants.

“Regional Australia has a vital role to play driving economic development, lifting productivity and fostering innovation and through the support of this programme we are encouraging growth and investment at the local community level.”

Across the first two rounds, the Australian Government approved $505 million to fund 162 projects across the nation.

Further information on the programme, including information sessions about the application process held around Australia for potential applicants, is available at:

Joint Media Release

The Hon. Warren Truss MP, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

The Hon. Michael McCormack MP, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister

15 January 2016

Round Three of National Stronger Regions Fund will open in January

Round Three of the National Stronger Regions Fund will open for applications on 15 January 2016. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said Round Three will open to submissions from local governments and incorporated not-for-profits for priority infrastructure projects in regional communities from 15 January 2016 until 15 March 2016.

“As in previous Rounds, I encourage applicants to put forward projects that demonstrate strong economic outcomes and address disadvantage, to give themselves the best opportunity for success,” Mr Truss said.

“Grants must be between $20,000 and $10 million and grant funding must be matched in cash on at least a dollar-for-dollar basis except for those applicants in remote and very remote locations. For Round Three these applicants need to contribute at least one dollar for every three dollars of NSRF funding sought.

“Across the first two Rounds, the Australian Government approved $505 million to fund 162 projects across the nation, including $293 million for 111 projects announced on Monday.

“Funding is targeted to ensure successful projects will deliver strong outcomes for local communities.”

Further information on the programme, including on the application process for Round Three, is available at:

Media Release

The Hon. Warren Truss MP, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

9 December 2015

National Stronger Regions Fund delivers $293 million for communities

The Australian Government has announced $293 million to fund 111 projects to help deliver economic benefits to communities around Australia through Round Two of the National Stronger Regions Fund.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the second round of the programme had seen an increase in the number of applications, with 513 applications seeking $1.5 billion in funding.

“The strong growth in applications demonstrates a genuine appreciation of the programme by communities across the nation. The Fund maintains a very strong level of support from not for profit organisations and local governments,” Mr Truss said.

“This round of the programme was very competitive and the standard of applications was higher than the previous round.

“Clearly, applicants have thought seriously about how well their project addresses the objectives of the Fund. Round Two also had $25 million quarantined for projects seeking funding of $1 million or less, so smaller projects are well represented amongst the successful applicants.

“As a result, double the number of projects are being funded under Round Two than Round One which is great news for communities across the nation.”

Mr Truss said the 111 projects selected for Round Two funding brought the total number of National Stronger Regions Fund projects to 162.

“These projects bring the total amount of Australian Government investment approved to date under the Fund to $505 million,” he said.

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said he was delighted to see such a strong response from applicants again in Round Two which will deliver great new gains for communities.

“The National Stronger Regions Fund is supporting investment in a diverse range of infrastructure from tourism, water and transport infrastructure to cultural, sporting and healthcare facilities, providing sustainable economic growth in areas of disadvantage across the country,” Mr McCormack said

“The programme allows communities to identify their own priority infrastructure projects, and particularly encourages partnerships between not-for-profit organisations, local, state and territory governments as well as the private sector.

“The Australian Government recognises the vital role Australia's regions can and must play to drive economic development, to lift productivity and to encourage and foster innovation.”

The National Stronger Regions Fund is delivering $1 billion over five years to promote economic growth and address disadvantage.

More on the National Stronger Regions Fund, including a full list of successful Round Two projects and details on the application process, is available online at

Joint Media Release

The Hon. Warren Truss MP, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

The Hon. Michael McCormack MP, Minister Assisting the Deputy Prime Minister

7 December 2015

Mobile Black Spot Programme to deliver almost 500 new or upgraded base stations with total investment of $385 million

The Abbott Government's Mobile Black Spot Programme will deliver almost 500 new or upgraded mobile base stations around Australia – 429 Telstra base stations and 70 Vodafone base stations.

This is the most significant one time increase in mobile network coverage to outer metropolitan, regional and remote Australia delivered by a single public funding programme in the history of mobile communications in Australia.

The new and upgraded base stations will provide new handheld coverage to 68,600 square kilometres and new external antenna coverage to over 150,000 square kilometres, and over 5,700 kilometres of major transport routes will receive new handheld or external antenna coverage.

There will be handheld or external antenna coverage to all or part of around 3,000 of the black spot locations nominated by Australians, in the public consultation phase of this Programme, as not having mobile coverage – almost half of the 6,221 black spot locations originally nominated. This is because many base stations will serve multiple nominated black spot locations.

The total to be invested in new and upgraded base stations under the Programme is $385 million, significantly exceeding expectations. This reflects close cooperation between the Commonwealth Government and other levels of government, and strong proposals from the mobile network operators in response to the competitive selection process.

The Commonwealth funding commitment of $100 million (ex GST) was supplemented by funding commitments from the governments of NSW ($24 million), Victoria ($21 million), Queensland ($10 million), Western Australia ($32 million) and Tasmania ($0.35 million), as well as around $1.7  million from local governments, businesses and community organisations.

In addition to the Commonwealth and state government funding commitments, the Programme has leveraged significant private sector investment – Telstra will spend $165 million over three years and Vodafone $20 million over three years.

There is a broad national spread of new and upgraded base stations across NSW (144), Victoria (110), Queensland (68), Western Australia (130), South Australia (11), Tasmania (31) and Northern Territory (5).

The successful locations were chosen following a competitive selection process, with the mobile network operators asked to nominate sites where they would build new or upgraded base stations to serve the black spot locations nominated by the public. The Government selected the locations in accordance with the ranking process in the Programme guidelines issued publicly in December 2014.

The first base stations funded under the Programme will be rolled out before the end of 2015 and the rollout will continue for a three year period.  The rollout sequence will be determined by Telstra and Vodafone based on various factors including obtaining local government planning approvals for new base stations; the Government will closely monitor rollout performance and ensure that regular public updates are provided.

This Programme aims to stimulate competition in mobile services in regional and remote Australia, and it is pleasing that two of the three mobile network operators secured significant funding. In addition, under the Programme rules the mobile network operator selected to build a base station must give the other mobile network operators the opportunity to co-locate on that base station, in advance of the design for the base station being settled.

The Abbott Government has separately announced today that it will fund a Mobile Black Spot Programme Round 2, with an allocation of $60 million.

In addition, as part of Telstra's proposal, it will build up to 200 4G mini base stations in locations in small towns around Australia where suitable infrastructure is available, with the locations to be mutually agreed between Telstra and the Government. These mini base stations will provide mobile data coverage in a radius of around 200-300 metres and will support voice services as the technology for 4G based voice becomes available.

The Government expects to agree the locations for the 4G mini base stations with Telstra during the second half of 2015, with the rollout of the 4G mini base stations to commence after that.

Both the Mobile Black Spot Round 2 Programme, and Telstra's commitment to build 200 new 4G mini base stations, offer further opportunities to meet unmet demand and provide coverage to more locations around regional and remote Australia, in addition to the new or upgraded base stations announced today.

A map of locations which will receive new or upgraded coverage under the first round of funding of the Mobile Black Spot Programme is available from

Joint Media Release

The Hon. Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Minister for Communications

The Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications

25 June 2015

Inspiring Rural Communities—new grants announced

Successful applicants from the 2015 Creating Inspiring Rural Community Leadership and Engagement (CIRCLE) grants programme were announced today.

The programme, developed by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), and made possible with a $500,000 grant from the Australian Government, fosters community leadership development in regional and remote areas.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the leadership investment under the CIRCLE programme is vital for realising the prospects of regional communities.

“Investing in rural leadership is critical if we are to realise the vision of vibrant rural communities and industries in Australia,” Mr Truss said.

“Capable local leaders will ensure that local communities have the skills to tackle relevant issues effectively, with good planning and execution.

“I congratulate all the successful applicants on their high quality proposals that will make a positive difference to their communities.

“I am delighted to be supporting this programme because it directly improves the reach and accessibility of leadership development programs across the country, including through more online and virtual training.

“Travel costs are often a barrier to participation and this online approach helps to overcome the tyranny of distance that many rural communities face.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, Alexandra Gartmann, said this practical support would make a lasting impact in these communities.

“With strong leadership and well-functioning local community organisations, including philanthropic Community Foundations, communities have greater capacity to turn challenges into opportunities,” Ms Gartmann said.

“Additional training opportunities and alumni programs, as well as investment in IT equipment, governance training and strategic planning support for community organisations will help create capacity and build stronger, more vibrant communities.

The 20 successful grant recipients include funding for:

  • The South West Women's Health and Information Centre in Bunbury, WA which will use the funds to give women in bushfire prone areas new skills in leadership, decision making, technology and natural disaster preparedness and recovery. Development training sessions will be held with local community groups in Nannup, Bridgetown, Northcliffe, Donnybrook, Manjimup and Pemberton. Follow-up individual coaching will consolidate group learning.
  • The National Rural Women's Coalition Limited which will trial existing technology to overcome the barrier of distance to leadership training and development. This project will work with the Office of Women's Policy (Darwin), to target and train potential leaders in the Northern Territory.
  • The Tasmanian Leaders Inc which will support participants of previous leadership programs with a series of webinars and residential programmes. These will enable the graduates to have direct input into Government policy and planning and to support a 10th anniversary celebration of alumni from previous programs.
  • The Ag Excellence Alliance Inc in South Australia seeks to reduce barriers to participation in leadership training for emerging community leaders, particularly regional South Australian women in agriculture. This project will involve building a sustainable network of peer-to-peer support for female rural leaders through an online mentoring / leadership model and interactive learning activities.

A full list of the successful grant applicants can be found in Attachment A in the PDF attached or online at:  

For more information about the CIRCLE programme, visit:

Joint Media Release

Hon. Warren Truss

Deputy Prime Minister;

Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Alexandra Gartmann

Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal
Chief Executive Officer

24 June 2015

$18 million for Murray-Riverina diversification projects

Twenty-one projects which will help grow and strengthen the rural NSW economy have been granted almost $18 million of Australian Government funding through the Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Programme.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the funding was to assist Murray-Darling Basin communities increase economic diversification and adjust to a water constrained environment.

“Under the $100 million Australian Government programme, the Basin States of NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia each select projects for funding in consultation with the Australian Government,” Mr Truss said.

“The 21 projects selected for funding in NSW will lead to the creation of around 250 jobs in the State, and will help businesses and communities impacted by the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.”

NSW Minister for Regional Development John Barilaro said the NSW Government secured Australian Government funding of up to $32.5 million for economic development projects and diversification initiatives in the State.

“This funding will assist projects that will create new jobs and increase the economic output of local and regional economies in the Murray-Riverina,” Mr Barilaro said.

“More than 100 funding applications were received, a fantastic response, with 21 successful projects now confirmed after rigorous assessment and recommendation by an Independent Panel.

“The 21 projects receiving funding come from a diverse range of industries, from manufacturing to aquaculture, cheese-making to grain processing.

“In particular, the Independent Panel sought out projects that involve the development of sustainable partnerships with government, the private sector or not-for-profit organisations to support joint investment in regional communities.”

The remaining $14 million will be negotiated by the Federal and State Governments in accordance with the program objectives of delivering economic diversification in the Murray Darling Basin.

A full list of the 21 Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Programme projects is at ‘Attachment A’ below. For more details on the programme, visit

Joint Media Release

Hon. Warren Truss

Deputy Prime Minister;

Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Hon. John Barilaro

NSW Minister for Regional Development;

NSW Minister for Skills

NSW Minister for Small Business

21 May 2015

National Stronger Regions Fund: Round Two now open

Local councils and incorporated not-for-profit organisations can now apply for funding of between $20,000 and $10 million for capital infrastructure projects under Round Two of the $1 billion National Stronger Regions Fund.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss, at Ronald McDonald House in Brisbane today for the announcement, said the Australian Government is very pleased with the level of interest shown in the programme under Round One.

The Ronald McDonald House project was one of 51 successful applicants under Round One.

“We are providing $5.3 million towards construction of a new $34 million Ronald McDonald House in South Brisbane, with 112 accommodation rooms, communal spaces including a kitchen, laundry, dining area, lounge and games room,” Mr Truss said.

“The facility will also include outdoor recreation and play areas and on-site parking.

“There were 405 applications received under Round One seeking funding of over $1.2 billion.

“I encourage applicants to put forward projects that demonstrate strong economic outcomes, especially in disadvantaged regions, to give themselves the best opportunity for success under Round Two.

“Feedback will soon be available for unsuccessful applicants from Round One who wish to strengthen their application and re-apply for funding.”

Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs said funding was targeted in such a way to ensure successful projects deliver strong outcomes for local communities.

“Following feedback from various stakeholders, the Australian Government has made some amendments to the National Stronger Regions Fund to better reflect the objectives of the programme,” Mr Briggs said.

“Under Round Two, $25 million will be quarantined for those projects seeking funding of $1 million or less. This will allow a broader reach across Australia's regions and better reflect the national intent of the programme.

“Applicants will also be able to submit up to two applications under this Round.”

The Australian Government provided $212 million to successful applicants under Round One of the programme.

More information on the programme, including on the application process for Round Two, is available at:

Joint Media Release

Hon. Warren Truss

Deputy Prime Minister;

Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Hon. Jamie Briggs

Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development;
Federal Member for Mayo

19 May 2015

Agricultural Green Paper released: it’s time to have your say

The Australian Government has released the Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper today and is asking everyone in agriculture to have their say on a range of new proposals and policy suggestions.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said that the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper that the Coalition Government has carriage of is seminal to who we are, where we came from, and is a vital part of the puzzle of how we get out of our current financial bind.

"The Green Paper outlines fresh ideas on a range of vitally important issues for the future of our nation including infrastructure, drought support, trade and finance.

"The Green Paper is a reflection of the Coalition Government's commitment to maintaining family farming as the cornerstone of Australian agriculture and to support those on the land who engage in food and fibre production, an inherently noble and good occupation.

"People on the land feed and clothe people. You are on the land if you farm, if you work in an abattoir, if you transport produce in logistics, if you are a vet or a farm worker and if you are the family that owns the farm.

"I said I wanted to hear the big ideas, to shake things up—I was looking for new policies to truly support our farmers and our strong agricultural sector into the future. The Green Paper certainly delivers with options to consider 25 diverse policy themes," Minister Joyce said.

"Now it's about whittling these ideas down and deciding what’s really important to take into the future, particularly given the tight fiscal environment we are working in.

"As a nation, we need a competitive and innovative agricultural sector—a sector that increases farmgate profitability, has expanded export and trade opportunities, and strengthens our rural and regional communities.

"Some of the suggestions stakeholders had for drought support included increasing support for commercial multi-peril crop insurance, more accurate weather and climatic information and increased mental health support.

"In infrastructure, we want the views of producers on the costs and benefits of major investments ranging from road, rail and shipping terminals to regional air hubs, new dams, and communication services and programmes.

"Regarding water infrastructure, the government is seeking to identify new dam and infrastructure projects that can deliver Australia's water supply needs in the future.

"The paper suggests ways to reduce Commonwealth, state and territory regulatory burden and to improve market competition by strengthening domestic competition laws.

"Many of the submissions received through the issues paper consultations raised the need for greater investment in biosecurity information and intelligence gathering tools.

"In terms of taxation and finance, the government is also seeking input on proposals to amend income tax averaging provisions, alter non-commercial loss rules and change the eligibility boundaries for the Zone Tax Offset.

We're looking to farmers to tell us about the most important ideas and the policies we should focus on to take agriculture forward—so feedback will be very useful.

"Everyone has the opportunity to have their say on the Green Paper. Submissions are open online until 12 December 2014. Now is the time to help shape Australian agriculture into a stronger, more profitable and more sustainable sector," Minister Joyce said.

To read the Green Paper, or provide a submission in response, visit:

The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP

Minister for Agriculture

Monday, 20 October 2014


The Australian Government is getting on with delivering priority economic infrastructure projects throughout Australia with Round One of the National Stronger Regions Fund now open to receive applications.

The Fund will invest $1 billion over five years and support investment in the priority economic and infrastructure areas—from freight and transport projects to convention centres and major multi-purpose sports and community facilities.

These investments will have a focus on strengthening economies in Australia's most disadvantaged regions by improving their productivity, economic opportunity, employment, and workforce skills.

The Fund will enhance the economic growth, activity and output of our regions and sustain these gains into the future, by providing between $20,000 and $10 million for up to 50 per cent of the cost of projects.

The Fund will invest in important infrastructure projects nominated by local communities, ensuring Australia's regions are investing in their own future.

As well as providing direct investment in major projects that deliver economic and social benefits, the Fund will have flow on benefits of improving the capacity of organisations to deliver projects.

To best deliver critical infrastructure, the Fund will encourage the formation of strong partnerships that engage project proponents with the private sector, and local, state and territory governments.

Projects seeking funding will be considered in consultation with the Australian Government's National Infrastructure Committee, which has a strong interest in, and commitment to, harnessing the potential of Australia's regions.

The Guidelines for the National Stronger Regions Fund detail the type of project proposals sought, how to lodge an application, how assessments will be conducted, and critical programme dates.

To access the guidelines, and to lodge a Round One application, visit:

Hon. Warren Truss

Deputy Prime Minister;

Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Hon. Jamie Briggs

Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development;
Federal Member for Mayo


Metropolitan long-term renters can today make their New Year’s resolutions to move to regional NSW a reality with the help of a NSW Government Regional Relocation Grant.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Infrastructure & Services Andrew Stoner said, from today, city-based long-term renters looking to buy a home in regional NSW could apply for $7,000 in NSW Government funding.

Mr Stoner said a separate new incentive of $10,000, aimed at encouraging more people to relocate from metropolitan areas to regional NSW for employment, also came into operation today.

“The expanded Regional Relocation Grant and the new Skilled Regional Relocation Incentive will help ease Sydney’s tight rental market and population pressures,” Mr Stoner said.

“The grants are designed to boost population growth in regional areas to meet the expected increase in demand for jobs being driven by the Government’s investment in regional infrastructure and business growth.

“More than 2500 families have so far made the sea or tree change under the Regional Relocation Grant scheme since it began in 2011.

“Many of these families have spoken positively about the affordability of homes and the change in lifestyle, including an easier commute to work, fresh local foods, a clean environment and friendly communities.

“From today, eligibility for the $7,000 Regional Relocation Grant has been expanded from only including city-based homeowners to include long-term renters in metropolitan Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong who purchase homes in regional NSW. This grant is designed to assist with the costs of relocating.

“We have also introduced the new Skilled Regional Relocation Incentive of $10,000 to move to regional NSW for full-time employment, rather than to buy a home.

“In particular, these measures aim to enhance the appeal of regional relocation to an economically active demographic including young families, young professionals, small business owners and tradespeople.

“This is about attracting much-needed skills to our regions and developing sustainable and more vibrant regional communities.”

Mr Stoner said both grants were subject to meeting specific eligibility criteria, including a minimum distance requirement of 100 km for the relocation.

“The Skilled Regional Relocation Incentive will be awarded to eligible applicants in two equal instalments payable at least a year apart,” Mr Stoner said.

“Grant applications will be administered on a first come, first served basis until the annual Budget allocation - $10.4 million for 2013-14 - has been exhausted.

“Applicants can only apply for either the Regional Relocation Grant or the Skilled Regional Relocation Incentive, not both.”

The Regional Relocation Grant and the new Skilled Regional Relocation Incentive will be promoted through a number of channels including a targeted NSW Government digital marketing campaign later this year and through partnerships with local and regional government organisations and with industry.

The Hon. Andrew Stoner MP

Deputy Premier of NSW
Minister for Trade and Investment
Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services

Wednesday 1 January 2014

For more information visit:

Other Trade & Investment media releases can be found here:

Tumbarumba Shire Council has won this year’s A R Bluett Memorial Award

The announcement of Tumbarumba Shire Council and Mid Western Regional Council, based at Mudgee, as A R Bluett Memorial Award winners for 2013 was greeted with spontaneous applause and excitement at the Local Government NSW Conference held in Sydney Town Hall this week.

Trust Chairman Graeme Fleming PSM, said that the awards are the premier event for Local Government in NSW, representing the pinnacle of achievement for local councils and judging proved a difficult process for the Trustees this year.

Tumbarumba Shire Council, one of the smallest in NSW, is one of only two councils in the state, the other being Sydney City Council, as having a ‘strong’ financial sustainability rating. The feature of the council’s submission was its ability to work in partnership with state and federal government, private enterprise and the community, to deliver services to a small rural community, at a time when many other communities have suffered reduced services. Highlights of the year included stage one of a retirement village project, upgrade of CBD (including free wi-fi), library extensions, new waste water treatment plant, extensive upgrades to reserves, recreation and camping facilities, stage two of a housing estate, the development of a new office and information centre in a joint project with National Parks & Wildlife Service at Khancoban. These were achieved against the background of four declared natural disasters and over $9M damage to roads, bridges and other community facilities.

Mid Western Regional Council is a rapidly growing area in central NSW, which has been impacted on by a number of major developments and is expected to have 30% population growth over the next seven years. The council has adopted a strategic approach to managing this growth whilst trying to balance the financial, environmental, social and governance aspects for the community. Achievements during the year included three swimming pool upgrades, the finalisation of the Glen Willow Regional Sports Complex, town hall refurbishment and library extensions, which included bringing back the movies to Mudgee after a seven-year break, extensions and developments in relation to parks and reserves, $23M sewer augmentation program, a rural water supply upgrade to Gulgong, main street upgrades, an emphasis on the environment, youth and facilitation of health services were also evident.

The Council continued a strong focus on financial management and has been independently assessed as being in a sound financial position.

The Trustees also made special mention of the achievements of Goldenfields Water County Council based at Temora and Upper Lachlan Shire Council based at Crookwell.

Trust Chairman Graeme Fleming concluded by saying, “at a time when local government is under increasing scrutiny, the Trustees were most impressed with the quality of the submissions for the 2013 award and would like to praise the level of excellence that exists within Local Government.”

“Local Government can be more than proud of their achievements and this should be more widely acknowledged by other levels of Government and the general community”, Mr Fleming said.

Further information contact:

Graeme Fleming
0427 291 664

2 October 2013

Read more

Driving small business success

Small businesses in the Murray region can take advantage of high quality business assistance in their local area with the arrival of the Small Biz Bus on 17 and 21 October. The Bus will be calling in at Holbrook and Jerilderie, giving local small businesses operators the chance to meet with business experts for personalised, individual advice.

Graeme Sayer, Chief Executive Officer of the Murray-Hume and Riverina Business Enterprise Centres said “It’s is great to have the Small Biz Bus visiting Holbrook and Jerilderie as part of the State Government’s commitment to small business through the Small Biz Connect Program. I would encourage you to make to most of this opportunity and visit the bus whilst it is in town, we will have our advisors on hand to assist you with any small business inquiries you may have”.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day reality of running a business, but speaking to a business expert can help you view your business from a new perspective, and can be an effective sounding board to help you think about problems in a new light,” Yasmin King, NSW Small Business Commissioner said.

Services on the Bus are available at no cost to small business operators.

The Bus is an initiative of the NSW Government.

The Bus will be calling in at:

  • Thursday 17 October, Albury St (adjacent to the Holbrook Bakery), Holbrook, from 9am to 3pm.
  • Monday 21 October, Newell Highway (opposite the Post Office), Jerilderie, from 9am to 3pm.

To book an appointment on the Bus or to speak to your local Small Biz Connect advisor throughout the year, call Murray Hume BEC 1300 134 359 or

We would like to thank Greater Hume Shire Council and Jerilderie Shire Council for their support and for hosting the Small Biz Bus.

The Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner helps small businesses by providing dispute resolution services, speaking up for small business within government and delivering quality business advice through Small Biz Connect.

Media Contact: or call Mia Lauze on 0417 669 065.

4 October 2013

Australia’s new APEC Ambassador

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb today announced Mr Sam Gerovich as Australia's Ambassador for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

APEC is the Asia-Pacific region's pre-eminent economic forum. Its 21 member economies are home to more than 2.8 billion people and include eight of Australia's top-ten trading partners such as China, Japan and the United States. Over 70 per cent of Australia's total trade in goods and services is with APEC economies.

Mr Gerovich will work to achieve Australia's priorities within APEC including cross-border education cooperation, infrastructure investment and development, services liberalisation, regulatory reform and improving supply chain performance.

Mr Gerovich will work closely with Indonesia, this year's APEC host, and with China, the 2014 host, to support APEC in promoting economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr Gerovich is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently First Assistant Secretary of the Department's Trade and Economy Policy Division. He has previously served as Ambassador to Korea, Consul-General in Shanghai, Australian Representative in Taipei, Deputy Head of Mission in Beijing and had earlier postings in Tokyo, Beijing and Hong Kong.

Mr Gerovich has also served as First Assistant Secretary of the North Asia Division and the Diplomatic Security, Information Management and Services Division.

Mr Gerovich holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours from the University of Sydney and has studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is married with two adult children. Mr Gerovich speaks Chinese, Japanese and Russian.

The Hon Julie Bishop MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Hon Andrew Robb AO MP

Minister for Trade and Investment

Friday 20 September 2013

Media enquiries

Foreign Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7584

DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555

Trade and investment continues to grow between Australia and APEC

The importance of Australia’s economic relationship with APEC nations has been highlighted in a new report from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The APEC Region – Trade and Investment shows that more than two thirds of Australia’s total trade is with fellow APEC members. APEC nations also account for almost 57 per cent of Australia’s investment abroad and nearly 45 per cent of foreign investment in Australia.

In 2012, Australia’s total trade in goods and services with APEC grew 1.4 per cent to $437.8 billion. Exports fell by 3.0 per cent to $231.6 billion while imports rose 6.8 per cent to $206.4 billion.

Australian investment in APEC member economies rose 7.3 per cent to $736.0 billion, while investment by APEC member economies in Australia rose 9.3 per cent to $970.6 billion.

Australia’s major trading partners in APEC in 2012 were China ($125.1 billion), Japan ($71.1 billion) and the United States ($56.2 billion).

In terms of investment, the United States was both the largest investor in Australia ($617.6 billion or 63.6 per cent of all APEC member economies investment in Australia) and Australia’s largest destination for investment abroad ($434.0 billion or 59.0 per cent of all Australian investment in APEC economies).

As a whole, APEC accounted for 45.1 per of total world exports and 56.0 per cent of world GDP in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms in 2012.

The value of the APEC region’s exports to the world increased by 2.9 per cent to US$10.3 trillion in 2012, while APEC imports from the world increased by 4.5 per cent to US$10.8 trillion.

China was the largest exporter in APEC, with exports to the world valued at just over US$2.2 trillion in 2012 (up 8.0 per cent). It was followed closely by the United States, valued at just under US$2.2 trillion, and Japan with exports of US$944 billion.

Much of APEC members’ trade is with other APEC members. In 2012, 69.1 per cent of APEC members’ merchandise exports and 68.5 per cent of imports were within the region.

The APEC Region – Trade and Investment is part of a series published each year by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Australia’s international trade in goods and services.

The publication is available on the DFAT website at:

Monday 16 September 2013


An agreement has been reached on a significant water saving project in the Nimmie-Caira area of the Lower Murrumbidgee floodplain, Federal Minister for the Environment Mark Butler and NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson announced today.

The Australian Government has agreed to provide $180 million to NSW to purchase the land and water entitlements from 11 property owners in the Nimmie-Caira area, and for NSW to undertake extensive infrastructure works and develop long term land management arrangements.

Minister for Environment Mark Butler said, under the Agreement, water entitlements currently used for flood irrigation will be transferred to the Commonwealth for environmental use, making a significant contribution towards ‘bridging the gap’ to the sustainable diversion limits under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

“The project will provide 381,000 megalitres of Murrumbidgee supplementary (Lowbidgee) water entitlements that will benefit wetlands and floodways of the Lowbidgee floodplain and beyond, delivering a long-term average of 173,000 megalitres of water to the environment each year,” Mr Butler said.

“It will reduce the need for the purchase of water entitlements from other areas in the Murrumbidgee Valley that includes extensive permanent plantings and irrigation infrastructure.”

Mr Butler said the investment in the Nimmie-Caira area will provide lasting benefits to what is the largest remaining area of wetland in the Lower Murrumbidgee floodplain.

“The Nimmie-Caira project provides an opportunity to protect and restore the extensive wetland and floodway ecosystems of the Lower Murrumbidgee floodplain that are of local, national and potentially international importance.”

NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said the Nimmie-Caira project is not only a major environmental project.

It involves infrastructure works, reconfiguration of an extensive water delivery system and protection of important environmental assets for the long term, as well as funding for Indigenous and local community project components in the Hay, Balranald and Wakool council areas.

The project would also deliver social and economic outcomes for communities in the Murrumbidgee.

It includes development of a stock and domestic water supply to support dryland farming, and projects to assist local government and communities including funding of $530,000 for a community development co-ordinator in the Hay Shire and $100,000 for a Nimmie-Caira module in the Balranald Community Interpretive Centre.

The project forms part of the Australian Government’s commitment to provide up to $708 million, subject to due diligence, to the NSW Government to implement a suite of programs as part of the NSW State Priority Projects.

Facts about the Nimmie-Caira project.

  • The Nimmie-Caira area consists of 84,417 hectares and is located in the lower reaches of the Murrumbidgee River floodplain in NSW, east of the township of Balranald.
  • The business case presented by NSW identifies around 32,000 hectares of water dependent vegetation in the Nimmie-Caira, including red gum and black box communities and sensitive lignum wetlands. The business case also points to potential to restore cleared land and floodways to reconnect and reintegrate areas of water dependent vegetation.
  • The average long term yield from the Nimmie-Caira water entitlement is 173,000 megalitres. Of this, it is estimated that some 40,400 megalitres on average has already been benefitting the environmental assets of the Nimmie-Caira.
  • Trade of supplementary water entitlements is limited and unused entitlements cannot be carried-over into future years in the Murrumbidgee valley. They are accessible only when flows exceed downstream regulated requirements and only in specified reaches of the river where those flows are occurring. In NSW, diversions of water accounted against a supplementary entitlement is allowed during times where natural inflows may result in dams overflowing or there are high tributary inflows into regulated rivers downstream of major dams.
  • The Nimmie-Caira project will be implemented by the NSW Office of Water, in consultation with the Commonwealth, and with local landowners and stakeholders including Balranald, Hay and Wakool Shire Councils.
  • The next step is to finalise a formal project schedule setting out the milestones and conditions against which project funding will be provided.
  • The NSW government will own the land until long term land management arrangements are agreed that will protect and maintain the environmental and indigenous cultural assets of the Nimmie-Caira and integrate where possible with long term objectives for environmental watering in Yanga National Park.

The Hon Mark Butler MP

Minister for Climate Change
Minister for the Environment, Water and Heritage

The Hon Katrina Hodgkinson MP

NSW Minister for Primary Industries

Thursday 4 July 2013

Media contacts:

Tim O’Halloran (Butler) 0409 059 617

Kerri Griffiths (Hodgkinson) 0417 905 119

Regional Development Australia Fund Round Five

Round Five of the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) was announced this morning (Wednesday 19 June 2013) by the Minister for Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP.

The Australian Government will provide $150 million to local councils and shires that already receive Financial Assistance Grants, through RDAF Round Five and the Liveable Cities Program.

The Government will provide a base payment of at least $30,000 to smaller councils to ensure these councils also benefit from this funding.

This funding can only be used to build and renew community infrastructure, and local councils and shires will need to advise the Department of the projects which will be supported by the funding.

Sporting facilities, libraries, town halls, playgrounds and essential community services, such as child care facilities, are expected to benefit from this investment.

Round Five is about providing a boost for ‘shovel-ready’ projects in communities and, as such, councils and shires may choose to resubmit previously unsuccessful RDAF Expressions of Interest and applications within their allocated funding amounts.

Read more

2013 NSW Government Community Building Partnership

Do you have an infrastructure project that meets a need in your community?

Do you need funding to get the project up and running?

Have you heard of the NSW Government's Community Building Partnership program?

Read more

Eastern Mallee Landcare Consortium - Ladies Leadership Conference

Thursday 13 June 2013 at the Swan Hill Club 9am to 3pm - Entry is free

Sarah Sammon will be the keynote speaker and master of ceremonies for the event.

Dynamic guest speakers will talk on a variety of topics:

  • Ladies in Landcare
  • Mental health and well-being
  • Supporting rural women
  • Getting involved
  • Healthy mind & body

Participants will also have the opportunity to take part in relaxation classes held by an experienced local yoga teacher and Ausdrisk health checks/advice from Swan Hill District Health.

For all registration and booking enquires please contact:

Kim Cross
Eastern Mallee Landcare Facilitator
Telephone: 03 50302 052
Mobile: 0427 883 100

RSVP by Thursday 6 June 2013 - Places are limited

Small Towns The Real Winners

Small towns across regional, remote, rural and peri-urban Australia are the big winners in round three of the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF).

A total of $31 million in Commonwealth investment will unlock more than $200 million for 79 infrastructure projects across rural, remote, regional and peri-urban Australia.

This leverage represents an investment multiplier of seven to one. RDAF demonstrates a culture of continuing change in the way in which projects are developed –with collaboration across all three levels of Government and the private sector. The results show the regions understand the significance of the leverage of partnerships and working together to secure an outcome.

The Government listened to the communities and took on board the feedback from the previous two rounds – focusing in round three on small towns across our regions. This I believe was an excellent formula as the result shows with the significant leverage of over $200 million investment in smaller communities across Australia.

I was delighted with the announcement of Round three and would like to acknowledge not only the successful applicants – but also pay tribute to the Regional Development Australia network. As was the case in rounds one and two, the Regional Development Australia network took carriage of ensuring their communities ‘worked up projects’ that identified the needs of their respective communities – building on the partnership leverage and strongly demonstrating solid investment that will provide long term economic growth and job creation.

Previously - the Federal Government provided in rounds one and two of RDAF $350 million to support 81 infrastructure projects with a total value of $1.2 billion.

The $1 billion Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) is helping Australia's regions to grow, and to become strong and vibrant. It is supporting dynamic communities and enhancing livability across the country. The RDAF is part of the Government's larger $4.3 billion package for regional infrastructure, including the Regional Infrastructure Fund.

The Hon Simon Crean MP

Federal Member for Hotham

31 May 2013

Applications open for next round of Digital Enterprise Program

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today (Friday 17 May 2013) called for applications for more NBN initiatives across Australia through the Digital Enterprise Program.

The Digital Enterprise program offers free expert training for local businesses and not-for-profit organisations to help them take full advantage of the opportunities provided through the National Broadband Network (NBN).

“This is the fifth round of the Digital Enterprise Program, with the Gillard Government providing an additional $7.2million in the Budget to extend the program to another 23 NBN rollout communities,” Senator Conroy said.

The successful organisations will be awarded grants of up to $285,000 each to provide services to another 23 local communities. Applications close on 7 June 2013.

“The Government is also providing up to $400,000 for a Digital Enterprise - Virtual Advisor service. This online service will specifically target businesses in rural and remote communities, particularly indigenous businesses,” Senator Conroy said.

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New South Wales' inaugural Cross-Border Commissioner

New South Wales' inaugural Cross-Border Commissioner, Steve Toms, has been appointed by the NSW Government to provide advocacy for businesses, organisations and residents in border communities.

Mr Toms said there were a range of unique issues facing people living in the State's border towns and regions and his role enabled those issues to be raised with NSW Government.

Cross-border issues include but aren't limited to:

Different road rules and transport legislation between States, such as learner driver regulations and truck transport weight legislation

The impact of daylight saving time differences on businesses and schools

State tax anomalies and legislative differences

Health, education and law enforcement service differences.

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Water management and coal seam gas extraction

The Office of Water is responsible for overall management and control of surface and groundwater in NSW. We monitor water quantity and quality, licence the extraction of water, and assess the impacts that developments such as mining and coal seam gas extraction may have on the state's water resources.

The NSW Office of Water maintains a groundwater database that includes information on the depth of each bore, the rock types that have been drilled, the depth of aquifers intersected by the bore, the depth to water in the completed bore and the estimated bore yield. The bore's casing details are also supplied.

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New international engagement strategy will build trade and investment for NSW

Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner released the state’s first whole-of-government approach to growing international trade and investment activities in NSW.

The International Engagement Strategy expands NSW’s priority markets from six to ten, reflecting key sources of foreign direct investment, as well as the main buyers of NSW merchandise and services exports.

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For more details go to Click here

The 2013 DEEWR Employment Projections

The Labour Market Research and Analysis Branch of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has now updated its Labour Market Information with the following publications:

  • Industry Employment Projctions 2013 Report
  • Industry Projections to 2017-18

These projections can be downloaded from

NSW Energy from Waste - Draft Policy Statement for public consultation

The Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Robyn Parker has released the NSW Energy from Waste: Draft Policy Statement for Public Consultation. The draft Policy Statement has been developed by the EPA in conjunction with a multi-stakeholder reference group.

The EPA encourages people to review the draft Policy Statement and provide formal written submissions as part of the public consultation process. Submissions are welcome until 5pm Friday 3 May 2013. Details on the consultation process including information forums and how to submit are available at

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New Deniliquin Oncology Outreach Unit open

Many cancer patients at Deniliquin will now be able to receive their treatment locally rather than travelling to Albury Wodonga, the Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner and the Member for Murray Darling, John Williams announced today.

The Deniliquin Oncology Outreach Unit will be ready for patients from this Friday, 7 September.

Mrs Skinner said the clinic has been established to benefit patients who are receiving treatment by Border Medical Oncology at Wodonga.

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Community and culture projects to deliver for Albury-Wodonga

Minister for Regional Development and the Arts Simon Crean today visited the Albury-Wodonga region to officially open The Cube community centre in Wodonga and visit the site of the new Albury Regional Arts Facility.

Mr Crean joined Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu and Wodonga Mayor Mark Byatt at The Cube to open the $12.2 million project, funded through an investment partnership between the three levels of government.

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Inaugural meeting of the COAG Standing Council on Regional Australia—Communiqué 5–6 July 2012

Commonwealth, State and Territory ministers responsible for regional development and the President of the Australian Local Government Association gathered in Alice Springs over two days for the inaugural meeting of the Regional Australia Standing Council ('the Council').

The Council The Council progressed its ambitious cooperative agenda to deliver real and lasting growth across regional Australia and agreed to:

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$48 million for Indigenous arts, culture and languages

Arts Minister Simon Crean today announced $48 million for projects that support Indigenous arts, culture and languages, including a $21 million investment in jobs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Speaking at the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide, Mr Crean said connection to culture was an important part of the work in Closing the Gap.

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Regions lead transition to Clean Energy Future

Australia's regions are leading the transition to a clean energy future, accounting for around half of the 63 grant recipients of the first round of the Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP).

Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean said 28 of the 63 successful round one recipients were regional organisations and will share in $10.4 million of the $42 million allocated to improve energy efficiency for local government and community groups.

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Speech to the National General Assembly of Local Government, Canberra

It is a pleasure to be back at the National General Assembly of Local Government.

I would like to begin by acknowledging the custodians of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnuwal people, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present.

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NSW 2021 - Rebuild the Economy

The Government’s number one priority is to restore economic growth and establish NSW as the first place in Australia to do business.

StrengStrengthening our finances and boosting the Government’s productivity will free up resources to improve our competitive edge to attract investment and enterprise within Australia, our region, and the world. It will enable the private sector to maximise its growth potential and boost NSW’s overall economic performance.

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NSW 2021 - 32 Economy Goals

  • Rebuild the economy
  • Return quality services
  • Renovate infrastructure
  • Strengthen our local environment and communities
  • Restore accountability ro government

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