Drought-affected regional communities across Australia will benefit from 163 new local infrastructure and community projects as part of a $207 million investment under Round 4 of the Federal Nationals in Government’s highly successful Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).

Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack said this funding injection comes at a critical time for drought-affected communities.

“Many regional Australians are experiencing the worst drought in living memory – some dealing with this stress for more than a decade,” Mr McCormack said.

“Recent rainfall in many regional areas has resulted in the best start to a winter cropping season in a long time and the forecasts are for above average rainfall.

“That said, the effect of the long dry spell are and will be felt for many months if not years to come.

“These projects will go a long way towards building confidence and creating jobs and local procurement in areas that need it most.

“Regional Australia has withstood one of the most devastating bushfire seasons, floods and now a global pandemic – to say they’ve been hit hard in recent times, is an understatment.

“Their strength and spirit will lead Australia’s recovery through grass-roots projects – creating jobs, boosting local economies and growing confidence in regional communities as a great place to live, work and invest.

“We have seen great outcomes from the first three rounds of the BBRF and today’s announcement will build on that by funding critical local infrastructure projects including:

  • Tenterfield Water Treatment Plant replacement, New South Wales ($2,645,000)
  • Extension of Bogan Shire Medical Centre in Nyngan, New South Wales ($350,218)
  • WINGS ‘Our Youth, Our Future’ Redevelopment in Wilcannia NSW (The project will demolish the aged corrugated iron building and construct a new purpose-built facility) ($1,656,150).

“These will be delivered along with community-building initiatives such as the Narrungdera Earth Fest Creative Economy Project in Narrandera, worth $136,675.

“All Round 4 projects will strengthen our local economies and drive much-needed job creation, with thousands of jobs expected to be supported throughout regional Australia – delivering career pathways and enabling people to stay in the very communities in which they grew up.”

Minister for Drought David Littleproud said it was important now more than ever for the Australian Government to continue backing drought-affected regions.

“In past BBRF rounds we have supported transformative projects such as the substantial upgrade to Australia’s largest beef saleyards in Roma,” Mr Littleproud said.

“This project, just one example of the hundreds BBRF has invested in, was completed in January thanks to $3.9 million in Australian Government funding and supported 60 positions while delivering lasting infrastructure which will bolster the local beef industry and economy for years to come.

“We’ve also supported critical tourist drawcards such as the Peter Allen Festival in Tenterfield and the Kingaroy BaconFest, which injected much-needed cash flow into our regional communities and ensure Australia’s beautiful and diverse regions remain renowned world-wide.

“This latest round is an opportunity to support and work together with the one and a half million Australians affected by drought,”

Rural and regional Australians are coming together and supporting each other through these tough times and it is important that this latest round of BBRF is providing much-needed support to hard-hit regional communities at a crucial time.

Through the BBRF, the Nationals in Government are continuing our commitment to regional Australia, making vital local projects a reality, driving economic development and creating stronger partnerships across our regional communities.

For a full list of successful projects, please visit www.business.gov.au/bbrf.