Legislative Council: Wednesday, June 28, 2023


Enabling Infrastructure Program

The Hon. T.T. NGO (14:47): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister tell the house about the Enabling Infrastructure Program that has been announced by the state government today and how it will assist regional communities?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:47): I thank the honourable member for his question and his ongoing interest in regional communities. I am pleased to announce that the $5 million Enabling Infrastructure Program, a key component of the Thriving Regions Fund, is now open for stage 1 expressions of interest. The Enabling Infrastructure Program will see grants ranging from $50,000 to $1 million, although it is possible that grants of $2 million could be considered where the project can demonstrate an exceptionally broad benefit.

The Enabling Infrastructure Program will support projects that strengthen regional communities and services, and in particular support projects that help retain and grow populations in regions, focusing on improving quality of life, and also that support infrastructure that assists in retaining and bringing in new business to regional areas, and collaboration with other community projects and programs. Also, of course, it is looking for any projects that have a broad community benefit to as many people within the region as is feasible, with a focus on current and future demands of the service and, importantly, the region.

Eligible applicants will include businesses, charities, cooperatives, local government authorities and statutory authorities, and the grants will support projects that can commence within six months and be completed within two years. Applicants who are successful with their stage 1 expressions of interest will have the opportunity to provide a more detailed application as the process moves into stage 2. Expressions of interest for stage 1 will close on 9 August 2023.

Under our government, the $15 million Thriving Regions Fund is serving its purpose. The $5 million Enabling Infrastructure Program, as a key part of the Thriving Regions Fund, provides an important avenue for regional communities to create and take opportunities that have far-reaching and lasting impacts on livability, inclusivity and providing necessary community services that help retain and grow regions.