Investing In Infrastructure
A significant investment package sees the 2021-22 Budget continue to build a strong regional Australia through extensions to community grants programs that invest directly in economic and social infrastructure.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Liberal and Nationals Government is committed to creating jobs and building stronger regional communities.
“This Budget’s investment in our regions is headlined by an additional $250 million for a sixth round of the successful Building Better Regions Fund. This builds on more than $1 billion already committed to our regional towns and cities from the Fund, which supports regional and remote communities by funding investment-ready infrastructure projects that will create jobs and drive economic growth.”
“We are building strong and resilient communities, as well as helping create local jobs, by investing in projects across Australia which drive our regional economies.”
Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories Nola Marino said the Government will also provide more than $5.7 million of grant funding in the 2021-22 Budget to deliver a new Rebuilding Regional Communities Program in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.
“This program will provide micro-grants to grassroots community organisations to assist communities in their recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Assistant Minister Marino said. “Community groups play a critical role in supporting and sustaining local regional communities and these grants will help local groups re-start activities and avoid lasting loss to the social fabric of regional towns.”
“The regions will also heavily benefit from the Government’s now $3 billion Road Safety Program, aimed squarely at delivering lifesaving road safety treatments on rural and regional roads and providing better protections for vulnerable road users.”
For more information on regional investments in the 2021-22 Federal Budget, visit https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/department/statements/2021_2022/index.aspx
Pests And Weeds Tackled By Budget
A new $29.1 million investment confirms the Australian Government’s long-standing commitment to supporting farmers and land managers to manage established pest animals and weeds.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Little-proud and Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the funding was part of the Australian Government’s broader biosecurity support package with over $400 million announced in this year’s Budget.
“Pest animals and weeds not only reduce agricultural productivity, they also damage natural resources,” Minister Littleproud said.
“That is why the Australian Government remains committed to supporting on ground efforts to fight the significant impacts of feral animals and weeds on our producers.”
“Innovation in pest animal management is fundamental to the transformation of Australia’s biosecurity system and achieving the industry’s vision of reaching $100b in value by 2030.”
Minister Ley said the funding would help protect native species from the significant threats invasive pest animals and weeds present to our natural environment.
“Millions of native species die each year because of pest animals and weeds and this budget measure will fund practical on ground collaboration with local Natural Resource Management groups and state and territory governments to tackle pests, and to prioritise new research for innovative pest reduction technologies,” Minister Ley said.
“Feral pigs can wreak havoc on turtle populations; deer, pigs and hard hooved animals destroy fragile native habitat and feral cats claim the lives of millions of birds and small reptiles each year.”
“As part of this program, Indigenous rangers will also play an important role, with $4 million over four years to undertake on-ground pest management control and to protect biodiversity and cultural values. These new initiatives complement existing investments in bushfire recovery for native wildlife and habitat, safe havens and our new ten year Threatened Species Strategy.”
Budget Boosts Bulk Billing To Benefit The Bush
The Australian Government is investing more than $65 million from 1 January 2022 to boost bulk billing rebates and provide more affordable healthcare for patients in regional, rural and remote areas.
A new, progressive incentive schedule will be applied that increases the value of the Rural Bulk Billing Incentive (RBBI) based on remoteness. This will enhance the financial viability of practices in rural and remote areas as well as reducing the gap paid by patients.
The more remote the area based on the Modified Monash model (MM), the greater the incentive payment they will receive per eligible consultation to recognise the greater challenges and cost pressures.
Federal Regional Health Minister, Mark Coulton said the Coalition Government is delivering the progressive rural bulk bill-ing incentives in recognition of the ongoing need to provide the right incentives for the heath workforce in rural, regional and remote areas.
“Australians in rural and remote areas have poorer access to and use of health services, compared to people living in metropolitan areas,” Minister Coulton said. “The new Rural Bulk Billing Incentive will support those GPs providing services to people in greatest need and who have the lowest propensity to pay for healthcare; our government understands GPs outside of our metropolitan areas face greater cost and workforce pressures.”
Minister Coulton said the Federal Government understands GPs face greater health complexities and challenges in rural and remote areas, which is why more than 12,000 rural and remote GPs will be eligible for the higher bulk billing incentive.
“Doctors in the bush face a greater burden of responsibility, more complex care situations and high rates of chronic dis-ease compared with doctors in the cities, who can rely on support from other medical services and facilities,” he said.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt said Government was delivering higher bulk billing incentives for rural and remote medical practices, which would reduce out of pocket costs to patients.