​Media release

Supporting jobs, services and vital infrastructure in regional and rural Australia

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud
Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals Michael McCormack 
Deputy Leader of the Nationals Bridget McKenzie 
Minister for Regional Development Territories and Local Government John McVeigh
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan

8 May 2018

Regional Australia will see the benefits across the board from the Coalition Government’s 2018-19 Budget from key freight corridor upgrades and increased exports to more rural doctors and better sports facilities.
The Coalition wants to make sure regional and rural Australia continues to prosper through investment in jobs, services and vital infrastructure.

Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals Michael McCormack said the Liberal and Nationals Government is committed to delivering the infrastructure Australians need now and into the future.

“A major highlight of this year’s Budget is the Government’s 10 Year Infrastructure Investment Pipeline that sets out the Government’s long-term infrastructure agenda to help communities, agencies and industry plan ahead for the future,” Minister McCormack said.

“I am particularly pleased to announce our $3.5 billion Roads of Strategic Importance initiative which will upgrade key freight corridors in regional Australia. It will also increase road safety and greatly support Australia’s growing regional visitor economy. 

“The Government has also delivered an additional $3.3 billion to the Bruce Highway in Queensland including Cooroy to Curra Section D, $971 million for the Coffs Harbour Bypass on the Pacific Highway in New South Wales, and $132 million for the Princes Highway in Victoria as well as an additional $50 million for the Geelong rail line.” 

Deputy Leader of the Nationals Bridget McKenzie said the Budget delivers the Stronger Rural Health Strategy to put more highly qualified doctors and nurses into the bush.

“We want to provide more Australian trained doctors where they are needed most while decreasing the reliance on new overseas trained doctors in the regions,” Minister McKenzie said.

“The Coalition Government will establish a medical school network in the Murray Darling area and support greater training capacity in the regions. 

“Our young athletes in the regions will be supported through an investment of $50.4 million to improve access to physical activity, including $11.8 million through the popular Local Sporting Champions Program.  

“We are supporting our women in sport through the Community Sporting Infrastructure Grants program to make sure the right infrastructure is in place to meet their needs. The grants also support small to medium scale projects to improve ageing and outdated sporting facilities.

“Up to 1.1 million primary and secondary school students will benefit from the extension of the Sporting Schools Program to deliver high quality sporting activities for students and reduce the costs for parents. 

Minister for Regional Development Territories and Local Government John McVeigh said the Budget would also deliver additional community grants programs.

“Following the success of round one of the Building Better Regions Fund which created 26,000 jobs through over 250 projects nationally, and with round two BBRF projects currently under assessment, we are providing $200 million to do a third round of the program,” Minister McVeigh said.
“We are also extending the Stronger Communities Programme to a fourth round with an additional $22.5 million to help deliver social benefits across Australia.”
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said Budget initiatives support our agricultural trade, delivering better access to global markets and jobs to rural and regional Australia.
“Trade is key to our farmer’s future and the nation’s future and the prosperity of our regional and rural towns,” Minister Littleproud said.

“We have committed $51.3 million to grow agricultural exports, including an extra six Agricultural Counsellors to support market access and provide a stronger representation in key emerging markets.

“Agricultural Counsellors are unsung heroes of market access, strengthening our relationships with key trading partners and working through trade barriers, ensuring farmers see the benefits of our trade deals back through the farm gate.

“We’re delivering a $121.6 million boost to the biosecurity system, to support our trade push and ensure we can protect our clean, green pest and disease status, including $20 million to fight fruit fly in Tasmania.

“We are investing $6.6 million to continue the fight against the scourge of pests and weeds which cost our farmers around $4 billion in livestock losses and disease and weed controls each year.

“This government wants to ensure farmers have access to the labour force they need to get their produce off the tree or vine and to market. That’s why we are expanding an ABARES study into seasonal agricultural labour demand and supply.”

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan said the Government is investing over $260 million to develop standardised satellite data and global positioning satellite technology to ensure Australia has world-leading technology to create jobs and support Australian industry and the economy.

“This world-leading satellite technology will transform the operations and potential of industries and businesses, such as mining, construction, maritime, aviation, agriculture, utilities, resources, and related sectors leading to more jobs.”

Fast facts

The 2018-19 Budget delivers benefits across the board for rural and regional Australia.
A 10 year $75 billion investment in transport infrastructure, including $3.5 billion for key freight corridor upgrades.
Stronger Regional Health Strategy to attract more doctors and nurses in the bush and establishing a medical centre network in the Murray Darling area.
$51.3 million to grow agricultural exports and $121.6 million to boost Australia’s biosecurity.
Expanded seasonal agricultural labour force study to help meet labour force needs.