Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss welcomed 405 proposals from not-for-profit entities and local governments.
“The Australian government is pleased to have created this landmark program which has attracted proposals from all the states and territories across the country,” Truss said.
“The level of interest demonstrates that local communities and councils value and understand the importance of building stronger regions and their importance to our future economic prosperity.
“I announced this initiative during the federal election campaign. Delivering on it is a much-needed boost for the regions – economically and socially, as well as gearing regional Australia for growth to meet the opportunities created by bourgeoning global demand for farm and mineral exports.
“Round One of the National Stronger Regions Fund will focus on projects that are well developed, with planning and approvals advanced so construction can start in the 2015-16 financial year.”
Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs said the Australian government would make decisions on successful projects following assessment against the program criteria by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
“We will contribute up to half of each project's cost to improve levels of regional economic activity and productivity, create jobs and improve regional capability to deliver major projects,” Briggs said.
“Particularly in Australia's disadvantaged regions, the Australian government is looking forward to working with state, territory and local governments on projects to support regional economic growth and sustainability.
“The National Stronger Regions Fund is designed to secure and manage investment funding for more stable and viable communities and to improve partnerships between local, state and territory governments, the private sector and community groups.”
The Australian government has committed $1 billion over five years from 2015-16 to the National Stronger Regions Fund to help strengthen communities and drive new growth in Australia's regions.