Legislative Council: Tuesday, May 02, 2023


Government Grants

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (14:37): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development on grants.

Leave granted.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: According to the PIRSA website, the Thriving Regions Fund, which replaced the previous Liberal government's Regional Growth Fund, opened in January this year. The Thriving Regions Fund is a $15 million commitment per annum to support projects to enable regional industries to grow jobs and strengthen regional communities. My question to the minister is: other than the $600,000 allocated for all grants under the Thriving Communities Program in this financial year, can the minister give an indication to the chamber where the other $14.4 million has been allocated?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:38): I thank the honourable member for her question. Certainly, she has referred to the Thriving Communities tranche of the Thriving Regions Fund, which is an incredibly important part of the funding program. Members may be aware that that particular program is a number of small grants of $20,000 to $50,000 that will enable better cohesion in regional communities and be able to strengthen regional communities in a variety of ways. It is certainly something that has come up in many different conversations I have had in my many regional trips around the state, and I am pleased that there will be opportunities for so many different community organisations to apply for those sorts of grants.

PIRSA delivers a range of grant programs to support primary producers in regional communities and certainly Thriving Regions is an important part of that. The goal of Thriving Regions is to be able to ensure that, where there are particular needs for regional communities that don't fall within, for example, another portfolio area—health is an example—there are the opportunities to provide that targeted commitment—

An honourable member interjecting:


The Hon. H.M. Girolamo: Just check your phone in case the answer's been texted to you.

The PRESIDENT: Order, the Hon. Ms Girolamo!

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: —that targeted support towards those particular regional areas. That can include, for example, industry support. While noting that direct industry support is perhaps better under other portfolios, such as manufacturing, it can also be appropriate that we have widespread industry support where it is going to target a number of different businesses.

For example, the election commitment that we made in regard to providing fee relief for the rock lobster industry, that was funded out of the Thriving Regions Fund, and there are similar examples of those sorts of programs. In terms of additional information, all of that, of course, will be available through estimates and Auditor-General's examinations.