​Media Release

Balonne funding an investment in Australia’s future

4 January 2016​

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, today highlighted the contribution of rural and regional Australia to the nation’s $57 billion agricultural industries and recognised the challenges they face during periods of drought.

Minister Joyce said it was essential to re-invest in the communities that support national agricultural production.

“This government is providing $35 million for local infrastructure and employment projects in rural and regional Australian, and we’ve already approved 28 projects worth over $9.5 million in drought-affected areas of Queensland,” Minister Joyce said.

The Balonne community will receive a much-needed boost through $1.5 million in Australian Government funding for five local projects as part of the $35 million Drought Communities Programme.

“As a former St George local I was overjoyed to watch as the town received 40mm of rain over the past day,” Minister Joyce said.

“However the impact that drought is having in the region can’t be fixed in a day and I know this funding boost will come as a relief to the community.”

Minister Joyce also welcomed news that works were currently underway on the $40,000 upgrade of the horse stables at the St George Showgrounds, and that the Council had selected contractors for the Civic Centre roof replacement, and the new kerbing and channelling project in St George, Dirranbandi and Thallon.

“Alongside two Grey Street Streetscape Beautification projects, these works are expected to generate up to 39 jobs for residents during their construction, an important economic boost for the region,” Minister Joyce said.

“By investing in local community projects we are creating real jobs right now, which are an important support to local economic activity and local businesses during these tough times.”

​The Drought Communities Programme is a new initiative of the Australian Government that recognises that along with drought-ravaged farmers, the communities and businesses farmers do business with also suffer.

More information on the programme can be found at http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/funding/dcp/index.aspx ​