Crean visits Valley

Federal Minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean, joined more than 100 business and community leaders in the Lockyer Valley yesterday to discuss flood recovery and rebuilding at this year’s Regional Leaders Forum.

The annual forum included workshops to determine needs in the community and discussions of initiatives to improve the region including reliable water for agriculture, improved information and communications and delivery of human services.

Mr Crean said the future of the region would rely on the people who live in the area.

"I am a great believer in localism and making sure that local people have an input in decision making," he said.

"I am very pleased with the Lockyer Valley Recovery Plan that has been developed because it was done so by those who were close the problems,

"We have a need to tap into local knowledge to get a better match for what the community wants and what the government can do,

"I’m looking to you, the residents of the valley, to say what your strategic vision is."

Mr Crean said the challenge of rebuilding the area and creating a solid future should be viewed as an opportunity.

"With situations like the Lockyer Valley there needs to be a cohesive community effort and from what I have seen, that won’t be too hard to acheive," he said.

"If they are successful they will have a more resilient community and a more sustainable community that will find a way to strengthen their patch."

Mr Crean said he encouraged people to work with the council and the RDA for their proposals and applications for funds under the Regional Development Australia Fund (RADF).

Regional Development Australia Ipswich and West Moreton Branch Executive Officer, Mark McConnell, said their branch would endorse applications for funding through RADF.

"We had ten applications from this region and out of those 6 were endorsed," he said.

"It’s our job to assess each application based on the impact of the idea presented and we look at the social and economic benefits of the proposal,

"I think most who have been involved would agree it’s a rigorous process but a necessary one for the future of the region,

"We want to help the community grow ideas for the future and be proactive in with way they bring ideas to the region."

The Regional Development Australia Fund will provide close to $1 billion over five years to finance infrastructure projects.

The next round of funding applications will be announced later this year.

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