The RDA Fund was announced in Canberra last week by Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Simon Crean, to delegates of Australia’s 55 RDA committees attending the 2011 RDA National Forum.
Minister Crean told forum delegates that the RDA Fund is a concrete demonstration of the Federal Government’s commitment to furthering economic development in the regions.
“This is a new way of investing in regional Australia with a focus on local solutions, complete transparency and maximising long-term economic benefit and potential,” Mr Crean said.
“Resources from the RDA Fund, which was established as part of the agreement struck with the Independents last September, will be allocated over five years.
“The allocation of funding will be competitive, merit-based and only applications that have the backing of the respective RDA committees will be considered.”
RDA Sunshine Coast welcomed the announcement with its Chair saying “This is an exciting era for Australia’s regional communities. The announcement demonstrates a great show of faith and trust in local people to shape their own futures. The federal government’s renewed commitment to regionalism and localism is full of potential and promise.
“This funding provides the Sunshine Coast with a unique opportunity to fund major projects that have the potential to drive economic development, create local jobs and boost the quality of life for local people.
“The funding announcement is an exciting step forward for the Sunshine Coast and I am delighted that RDA Sunshine Coast will play a pivotal role in recommending projects that will benefit our regional economy.
“It also shows the Federal Government’s commitment to acknowledging and empowering RDA Sunshine Coast’s role as regional development facilitators, mentors and brokers and builds on our capacity to engage all levels of government – particularly when it comes to ‘on the ground’ delivery of key infrastructure projects.”
The $1.4 billion allocated to the Fund includes $350 million that has been set aside for disaster relief in regional communities. This disaster funding allocation will be assessed on the same criteria as the rest of the Fund.
Key criteria for the application funding guidelines are:
- Delivery of concrete economic and social benefits
- Commitment to innovation and building capacity in local communities
- Linking regional communities across traditional boundaries, and
- Ability to leverage additional funding across government and the private sector.
The Federal Government also will provide an additional $4 million, of $25,000 each, to strengthen the capacity of RDA’s this year.
“There is a greater expectation for us to now assess and recommend infrastructure projects and to continue building effective and creative partnerships within the local community,” The Chair explained.
“It also empowers us to help deliver real change to the vision of the Sunshine Coast for the future and has the potential to move some of our major projects forward.”
Applications for funding are being accepted now – with the first funding allocation to commence on 1 July, 2011.
Interested parties can register to receive the guidelines when they are released by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘RDAF Interest’ in the subject line.