Earlier in the year the Federal government announced details of its Regional Jobs and Investment Packages. This will see $220 million invested into the regions across Australia. The aim of the programme is to diversify regional economies, stimulate long-term economic growth and deliver sustainable employment.
Ten Pilot Regions
Ten pilot regions have been selected to be part of the Regional Jobs and Investment Packages. These are regions which are seen by the government to have “untapped potential, which if unlocked could lead to new sources of growth, economic diversity and the opportunity to pursue export markets”. The programme formed part of the coalition’s 2016 election platform.
Two of the pilot regions are located in New South Wales – there will be $25 million for the North Coast (covering Tweed, Lismore, Kyogle, Byron, Ballina, Richmond Valley, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Nambucca, Kempsey, Armidale, Port Macquarie-Hastings and Mid-Coast local government areas) and $20 million for the South Coast (covering the Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Bega local government areas).
Local Planning Committees and Local Investment Plans
Each region will determine its local priorities and growth industries to drive economic growth in their region and create jobs.
A Local Planning Committee has been appointed for each pilot region. The Committee is responsible for developing a “Local Investment Plan” which will set out the investment sectors and strategic priorities for the region. To be successful, your project must match the strategic industry priorities in the Local Investment Plan.
These Plans have been released for the North Coast and South Coast of New South Wales:
- For the North Coast, the Committee has identified food manufacturing and agribusiness, advanced manufacturing, visitor economy, digital economy, education and training industry and ageing economy as the industries as emerging growth sectors.
- For the South Coast, the Committee has identified tourism and tourism support, manufacturing and transport logistics, primary industry, health and human services and specialised education services as the investment sectors and strategic priorities for the region.
There will be three streams of available funding under the programme. In all cases, the grant will be limited to 50% of the total project cost (with some very limited exceptions to this co-funding requirement for non-business applicants). The three streams are:
1. Local infrastructure grants
These will available to local councils and not-for-profit organisations to invest in new or upgraded infrastructure. These projects will capitalise on opportunities for growth, deliver long-term economic benefits to regional communities and create jobs.
2. Business innovation grants
These will be available to businesses to build scale and capability to be competitive in new or growing markets that create sustainable employment.
3. Skills and training grants
These will be available to local councils, agencies and not-for-profit organisations. The projects will support training and upskilling of the regional workforce to meet regional priorities, take advantage of emerging opportunities and withstand major labour market changes.
The minimum grant amount for the local infrastructure and business innovation streams will be $50,000. This means that only projects over $100,000 will be eligible. There is no minimum amount for the skills and training stream. The maximum amount for all streams will be the funding for the region. This means that high value projects could be funded.
Importantly, regardless of the stream under which you are seeking funding, your application will be assessed against all applications in your region under the programme. This means that it needs to be very well crafted and address the specific merit criteria of the programme.
If you meet the eligibility criteria for the particular funding stream, your project will be considered against specific and weighted merit criteria. These criteria are:
- the level of net economic benefit your project will deliver to the region during and beyond the project period (30 points)
- the value for money offered by your project (30 points)
- the extent to which your project addresses the Local Investment Plan’s investment sectors and strategic priorities (20 points)
- your capacity, capability and resources to carry out the project (20 points)
If your project is located on the North or South Coast of NSW, there is only a short window of opportunity to submit your application. Applications are now open online and will close on 31 July 2017.
More information about Regional Jobs and Investment Packages
The Regional Jobs and Investment Packages programme will be administered by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s AusIndustry Business Grants Hub on behalf of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. For more information, go to:
Or you can get in contact with Steve to talk about your project and its eligibility under the programme: