Backing Regional Australia

Backing Regional Australia

Our farmers and country towns remain at the core of Australia’s economy and identity.

We are working to boost regional industries, grow regional economies and improve regional infrastructure and services.

MORE JOBS IN REGIONAL AUSTRALIA

In the first five years of the Liberal and Nationals Government, employment has grown by over 200,000 outside capital cities.

BACKING FARMERS

Around 70% of our agricultural production is exported. We have secured more export opportunities with 10 major economies through the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

We are benefiting from agreements with China, Japan, South Korea, Peru, Indonesia, Hong Kong, plus Pacific Island nations. We’re working to deliver a new agreement with the EU, and together with the UK are committed to negotiating an Australia-UK FTA as soon as the UK is in a position to do so.

Our 2015 Agriculture White Paper put in place a long term plan to help farmers, backed by $4 billion in funding, for:

  • Farm Business Concessional Loans.
  • Accelerated depreciation to help investment in fencing.
  • Water reticulation and fodder storage.
  • Stronger biosecurity and control of pest animals and weeds.
  • New investment in R&D.

We have introduced Country of Origin Labelling laws so Australian customers can see which products are Australian made and contain Australian ingredients.

To support Australian farmers with labour shortages, we are making the Working Holiday Maker Visas and the Seasonal Worker Program more flexible.

The Government has committed over $6.3 billion for drought relief and recovery.

WATER SECURITY

The National Water Infrastructure Development Fund has had a $500 million top up.

We are fast tracking investment through this Fund and the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.

In addition to $13 billion for water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin, the Government has committed funding to the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative.

LANDCARE

We are investing around $1 billion over five years in Landcare.

This includes the Regional Land Partnerships, which restore wetlands, protect threatened species and improve soil health on farms.

REGIONAL ROADS AND RAIL

Our record $100 billion investment in infrastructure includes major road and rail upgrades to better connect regional communities.

An historic investment of $9.3 billion in Inland Rail will change the way freight is moved between Melbourne and Brisbane, while boosting local economies and jobs.

We are also investing $2.3 billion to upgrade regional passenger rail lines in Victoria, and $390 million to duplicate and upgrade the North Coast Rail Line between Beerburrum and Nambour in Queensland.

To build, repair and upgrade local roads, we are both continuing and increasing our investments in the Roads to Recovery, Black Spot, Heavy Vehicle Safety & Productivity and Bridges Renewal programs.

We have also established a $4.5 billion Roads of Strategic Importance initiative which will upgrade key freight routes and help agriculture and mining exporters.

REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS

The NBN rollout is 99% complete or under construction in regional Australia.

Our Mobile Black Spots Program is delivering 1,047 new mobile phone towers and coverage to almost 40,000 more homes and businesses.

The Government has provided an additional $220 million in the 2019-20 Budget for a Stronger Regional Digital Connectivity package, including:

  • $160 million for two additional rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program
  • $60 million for a new Regional Connectivity Program that will provide targeted investments to regional areas
  • Establishing a digital tech hub to improve digital literacy

REGIONAL HEALTH

Last year, there were 7.3 million more GP bulk billed services in rural and regional areas, compared to Labor’s last year in Government.

Our Stronger Rural Health Strategy commits $550 million to improving health in rural areas.

We are enabling private health insurers to cover travel and accommodation for treatment for people in regional and rural areas.

A new Medicare rebate will cover online videoconferencing for mental health consultations.

We are encouraging medical students to study and work in regional Australia, through 26 new regional training hubs and three new University Departments of Rural Health.

REGIONAL EDUCATION

The Liberal Nationals Government recognises the needs of young regional Australians undertaking education.

We back regional students with funding and access. Last year the Government provided more than $1.6 billion for students at regionally headquartered universities and over $420 million extra funding to school kids in regional areas.

We have given over $400 million support rural and regional students to go to university by expanding access to sub-bachelor university programs, creating more regional study hubs, providing additional scholarships and improving access to Youth Allowance for regional students.

We have also committed more than $70 million to provide greater education opportunities for Indigenous secondary school students.

Information current as at April 2019