Funding confirmed for Remote Area Boards

The economic future continues to look bright for the state’s remote regions with the Queensland Government approving the release of $1.5 million in funding for the remaining two years of the Remote Area Boards (RAB) program.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the RABs, which met in Cairns yesterday for their forum, were delivering projects with strong economic benefits.

“RABs bring together key stakeholders and provide a single voice on strategic issues to identify business opportunities and encourage development and investment,” Mr Dick said.

“This release of funding will provide certainty for RABs to underpin their economic planning and help them get the projects, services and activities they need, regardless of their locations and smaller ratepayer bases.

“Our RAB funding helps put remote areas on more equal funding footing and bridges the gap when it comes to competing against more populated areas, and I am pleased to announce that $1.5 million will be made available for the remaining two years of the program, through to 2020-21.

“The Queensland Government greatly values the work being done by the RABs to drive economic growth in the remote areas of Queensland, and this funding will allow them to get on with the job of rolling out more great initiatives and projects.

“The forum is a chance for the RABs to consider priorities for the remaining two years of the current program to ensure it is structured to deliver maximum benefits and aligns with our strategic priorities.”

The five RABs represented at yesterday’s forum were: South West Regional Economic Development, Gulf Savannah Development, Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Development Zone, Remote Area Planning and Development Board (representing Central West Queensland), and a new member, the Torres and Cape Indigenous Councils Alliance.

Under previous funding rounds, the projects delivered included identification of power supply alternatives, feasibility studies and digital strategies to enable high-speed broadband and boost digital capacity and literacy, and the identification of new infrastructure and tourism product opportunities.

Mr Dick said the Queensland Government was invested in supporting strong remote and regional economies right around the state.

“Along with the RAB program, we are also delivering more economic opportunities through the highly successful Building our Regions funding program, with the latest round seeing us partner with 37 councils on 49 projects.”

Member for Cairns Michael Healy, who opened the forum on behalf of Minister Dick, said it was important all corners of the state received funding support for projects that improved economic development opportunities for their communities.

“This positions our communities to be in the best possible position to bounce back when hardship strikes, such as natural disasters – as we witnessed with the recent monsoonal event – or in good times to thrive and forge ahead.

“I was honoured to welcome the RAB members to Cairns for the forum and look forward to seeing more project benefits being delivered with the new funding.”

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