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Regional Growth Fund Now Open

Today, the Hon Dr John McVeigh MP, Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, released guidelines and opened applications for the $272.2 million Regional Growth Fund.

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) Chairman, Mayor Shane Van Styn welcomed today’s announcement, stating the fund will ensure regional capital cities have new resources to meet the ongoing challenges of growth.

“We would also like to congratulate the government on listening to the regions by expanding the fund’s eligibility beyond regions undergoing structural adjustment, we all have transformational projects that will contribute to Australia’s economic growth,” Mayor Shane Van Styn said.

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Regional Investment Corporation Passes Senate

Legislation for the federal government’s Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) has been passed by the Senate this week, 33 to 31 thanks to crossbench support – the federal government is planning for the RIC to launch from July 30, 2018.

The RIC is expected to be based in Orange, a key inclusion in the federal government’s departmental decentralisation policy with 25 new jobs brought to the area. A minister-appointed board will make the final judgement call on the location, due to the ALP’s amendments aimed at increasing transparency within the RIC.

The RIC was a commitment made by the Coalition as part of the 2016 Federal Election. The RIC Board will be a corporate Commonwealth entity consisting of a part-time Chairperson and two-to-four board members. The role of the Board will be to ensure that the RIC functions in an efficient and effective manner.

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Chair’s Op-ed: Level crossings remove one minute from daily commute

Data revealed by The Age on time savings for Victoria’s level crossing removal program, calls for a rethink on how Australian infrastructure projects are prioritised.

Despite $8.3 billion being invested into the level crossing removal scheme, it seems the removal of these crossings has shaved an average of just one minute off peak-hour commutes. How this chips away at Melbourne’s spiralling congestion costs, estimated to be $4.6 billion each year, is puzzling.

All of this begs two simple questions: as a nation have we reached a tipping point for our big cities? And, if we are aiming to protect our envied way of life, is now the time for a new plan?

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Chair’s Op-ed: Geelong City Plan Announcement Recognises Importance of Regional Capitals

We recently saw another indication of the growing importance of regional cities, when Prime Minister the Hon Malcolm Turnbull and Federal Minister for Cities Minister the Hon Paul Fletcher joined the Andrews Government to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to do a Geelong City Deal.

Geelong joins two other Regional Capitals Australia members, Launceston in Tasmania and Townsville in Queensland (who are also members of our association) to be nominated for a City Deal.  In the deals that have been signed there has been a commitment to bring significant investment from both State and Federal Governments and also the private sector to the city and wider region.

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Chair’s Op-Ed: Stuck In Traffic? Time For a Rethink

This week the Grattan Institute released a new report – Stuck in Traffic – Road Congestion in Melbourne and Sydney– essentially confirming the obvious:  congestion is a crippling problem in the CBDs and inner suburbs of Australia’s two largest cities.

So what exactly is the cost? The Australian Government’s own research estimates that every year, congestion costs $6.1 billion in Sydney and $4.6 billion in Melbourne.  These costs are projected to more than double by 2030. Read more

Government Releases Interim Cities Performance Framework

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) Chair, Mayor Shane Van Styn today welcomed the release of the Australian Government’s National Cities Performance Framework Interim Report – which aims to measure the performance of Australia’s largest cities, including 16 in regional Australia.

The interim report is a first look at how the government is thinking about tracking the performance of cities across areas like congestion, employment, housing affordability, liveability, and sustainability.

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Regional Cities Set to Swell – Mayor asks Government: “Where the bloody hell are ya?”

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) today applauded the release of a new report highlighting Australia’s regional cities are set to swell, with the potential to add $375 billion per year to the nation’s bottom line by 2031.

The report also highlighted that the shared economies of Australia’s regional cities have the potential to grow by 65 per cent by 2031 – if the right investment takes place to support business investment.

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Regional Capitals Australia – Statement on Federal Budget 2017-18

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) tonight welcomed the Federal Government’s 2017-18 budget that included regional funding for community infrastructure, jobs and commuter and freight rail projects.

RCA Chair, Mayor Shane Van Styn stated the investments announced tonight were fundamental to ensuring regional capital cities continue to grow as well as service the smaller rural towns that surround them.

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