Regional Investment Corporation fast tracked
14 June 2017
- The Coalition Government today introduced legislation to establish the new Regional Investment Corporation (RIC).
- The Bill establishes the RIC as a corporate Commonwealth entity and ensures the RIC will have a governance structure that balances independent, commercial decision-making with appropriate responsiveness to government and the needs of industry.
- The RIC was a key election commitment, and is expected to open for business in 2018.
The Coalition Government has fast tracked the delivery of its election commitment to establish a new $4 billion Regional Investment Corporation (RIC), and today introduced legislation into Parliament to establish the new body.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the introduction of the Regional Investment Corporation Bill 2017 into Parliament was another significant step towards seeing the RIC open for business and delivering for regional communities from 2018.
"We want to get this regional bank up and running for the future growth and prosperity of regional and rural communities. I have wasted no time in delivering on this key election commitment and introduced legislation to the House of Representatives today," Minister Joyce said.
"The Bill establishes the RIC as a corporate Commonwealth entity, under the joint responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and the Minister for Finance. It also ensures the RIC will have a governance structure that balances independent, commercial decision-making with appropriate responsiveness to government and the needs of industry."
Minister Joyce said the RIC underlines the Coalition Government's commitment to building stronger and more prosperous rural and regional communities and more resilient farm businesses across Australia.
"I recently announced Orange as the headquarters of the decentralised regional bank, initially delivering around 25 jobs for the region," Minister Joyce said.
"The RIC will administer the government's $2 billion farm business concessional loans and $2 billion water infrastructure loans. The RIC will deliver a streamlined and nationally consistent application process for farm business concessional loans, with flexibility to act swiftly to respond when hardships like drought or an industry crisis hit.
"An independent board of three members will oversee performance of the RIC. This board will be skills-based, covering fields such as agribusiness, banking and finance, financial accounting or auditing, economics, water infrastructure planning and financing. Experience in issues affecting rural industries and communities will also be important.
"We have already put out a call for potential board members and I look forward to announcing the new board members once the legislation is through Parliament."
For more information on the RIC visit agriculture.gov.au/ric.
Until the RIC is open for business, it is intended that farm businesses will be able to continue to apply for concessional loans through their state's delivery agency. State and territory governments can continue to apply for water infrastructure loans through the department at agriculture.gov.au/waterloans.
- Farm business loans administered by the RIC will support strong farm businesses by providing loans to farmers in need.
- Since September 2013, more than $681 million in concessional loans have been approved to over 1270 farm businesses (as at 30 April 2017).
- Australia's agricultural production is forecast to be worth $63.8 billion in 2016-17.