Budget boost for WA regions
Regional investment to promote economic development and job creation is a big win for those who live outside of Perth, says CCI.
Funding announced in last night’s Federal Budget includes $4b in concessional loans, including the $2b National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility, and the $2b Farm Business Concessional Loan Scheme.
“It is important the program contribute to economic development of the regions and form part of a properly-funded Budget that ensures that concessional loans are repaid and investment funds are wisely spent,” says CCI Chief Economist Rick Newnham.
“Agriculture, forestry and fishing contributes $5.5b to the WA economy and represents 2.3 per cent of Gross State Product. The agriculture sector provides opportunity to further diversify the WA economy.
“Investment in technology and infrastructure in rural economies provides opportunity to grow this sector, with potential flow-on effects to other industries through value-adding.”
While the Budget didn’t detail WA’s share of the funding, Newnham says it’s important WA gets its fair share given it has the largest regional area in the country.
He says investment in job creation in regional areas—where there tends to be more long-term unemployed—will help tackle unemployment.
Other measures include:
- $28.5m to establish the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) to streamline the delivery of the $4b in concessional loans
- The Regional Growth Fund will invest $472m in infrastructure projects that back-in our regions’ plans to adapt and harness the opportunities of globalisation and technological change
- The RGF will also include $272m to provide grants of $10m or more for major transformational projects, which support long-term economic growth and create jobs
- $200m to be provided to the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) to support construction of community infrastructure and build capacity in regional areas, increasing the Government’s commitment to BBRF to $498m.