A new grants program for regional areas gives local governing bodies and not-for-profits the chance to turn their infrastructure and community building ideas into reality.

Local governing bodies and not-for-profit organisations in regional NSW will be able to apply for funding for infrastructure and community projects as part of a new scheme announced by Federal Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash last month.

The Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) will invest $297.7 million over four years in infrastructure projects and community investments nationally, with a view to creating jobs, driving economic growth and building stronger regional communities into the future.

Launching the program, Minister Nash said the economic case for investing in Australia's regions was clear.

“Our regions allow our cities to exist,” she said. “Investment in rural, regional and remote areas are necessary investments to keep Australia's powerhouse running smoothly.”

Key points:
  • Local governing bodies and not-for-profit organisations in regional areas will be eligible to apply. Projects in major capital cities will not be eligible.
  • To be administered by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s AusIndustry Business Grants Hub, grants are available through two funding streams, Infrastructure Projects and Community Investments.
  • The Infrastructure Projects Stream will support projects which involve the construction of new infrastructure, or the upgrade or extension of existing infrastructure that provide economic and social benefits to regional and remote areas.
  • The Community Investments Stream will fund community building activities including, but not limited to, new or expanded local events, strategic regional plans, and leadership and capability building activities. These projects will deliver economic and social benefits to regional and remote communities.
  • Projects will be assessed against projects of a similar size, and special consideration will be given to projects in remote and very remote areas.
  • Applications for the Community Investments Stream will open on 18 January 2017 and close on 31 March 2017. Applications for the Infrastructure Projects Stream open on 18 January 2017 and close on 28 February 2017.

An information session will be held in Tamworth on 3 February 2017, or visit the website for additional information.

Steep bills from Essential Energy? We want to hear about it.

Essential Energy is proposing to change the way it charges for its electricity services to better reflect the costs of building and operating its electricity network infrastructure.

They are looking at ways to charge heavier users more (especially those that use electricity during peak times) to reflect that peak use is the key driver for investment in new infrastructure.

These changes won’t affect everyone but we understand that Essential Energy has already been contacting those businesses it expects will be facing steep bill increases if these changes come online on 1 July 2017 as is planned. Is your business affected? If so, the Chamber wants to hear from you to help us build a case that these changes need to be reconsidered. We have already raised our concerns with both Essential Energy and the Australian Energy Regulator but your case studies will help us do more. Speak to your Regional Manager or contact Larissa Cassidy on 9458 7359.


 
The Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) will invest $297.7 million over four years in infrastructure projects and community investments nationally, with a view to creating jobs, driving economic growth and building stronger regional communities into the future.