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WarrenTruss DeputyPrimeMinister MinisterforInfrastructureandRegionalDevelopment Keynoteaddresstothe SustainableEconomicGrowthforRegionalAustralia(SEGRA)Conference Novotel,CoffsHarbour 16October2013

Goodafternoonandthankyouforyourwarmwelcome. AsyouknowIhaveapassionforregionalAustraliaanditisreallypleasingtohavethe opportunitysosoonafterbecomingMinisterforInfrastructureandRegionalDevelopmenttobe backspeakingofSEGRA,atoneofthenationsmostimportantannualconferencesonregional Australia. NEWGOVERNMENT,NEWVISION Tobegin,IwouldliketoemphasisethatweareanewGovernmentwithanewvisionfor regionalAustralia. WearecommittedtohelpingregionalAustraliapursueandseizemoreambitiousopportunities. Ourvisionisbasedondrivingrealcompetitiveadvantagesandproductivityimprovements throughpublicandprivateinvestment. Centraltoourvisionisacommitmenttodeliverafairersharetothosewholiveoutsidethe capitalcities. RegionalAustraliaisstronglyrepresentedinthenewCoalitionGovernmentMinistry,andthe CoalitionGovernmentincludestheoverwhelmingmajorityofregionalmembersofparliament. RegionalAustraliaproducesmostofournationsexportincomeanddrivesmuchofournational growth,butitoftendoesnotreceivetheattentionitdeserves. Now,morethanever,theregionsneedto,andwillbe,frontandcentreinournational consciousness. ThisGovernmentiscommittedtoimprovingsocialandcommunityinfrastructure,supporting smallbusinessandentrepreneurship,andfacilitatingaccesstoeducationregardlessofwhere peoplelive. GLOBALOPPORTUNITIES&CONNECTIONTOPLACE

Thisyearsconferencehasdualthemesglobalandlocal,andIwillbeaddressingboththemes asItalkabouttheGovernmentsvisionforregionalAustralia. EveryonehereknowshowimportantitisforbusinessesinregionalAustraliatotapintoglobal supplychainsandcapitaliseontheopportunitiespresentedbynewandemergingnationaland internationalmarkets. Strongbusinessbuildsandsupportsourregionaleconomicsandtheyneedgoodinfrastructure andservicestodriveeconomicdevelopmentatthelocallevel. Regionsneedlocalleadershiptodrivegrowthandharnessopportunitiesandstrongleadership issomethingthatallthemostvibrantlocalcommunitieshaveincommon. Allspheresofgovernmentplayanimportantroleinmakingthesethingshappen. THEMEI:GLOBALOPPORTUNITIES OPENFORBUSINESS YouhaveprobablyheardPrimeMinisterAbbottsaythatAustraliaisopenforbusiness. Yes,Australiaisopenforbusinessinlocal,regional,nationalandglobalmarketplaces. Beingopenforbusinessmeansforgingnewpartnershipsaswellasbuildingonourinternational traderelationshipstoopenupexportmarketsandopportunitiesforproducersand manufacturers. Itmeansinvestingintheinfrastructuretheroads,bridges,highwaysandrailwaysthatmove ourgoodstomarket. Itmeansprovidingtargetedsupportforresearchanddevelopment,andexportassistanceto helpgeneratenewideasandmakegoodbusinessesstrongerandmorecompetitive. ItmeansexploringwaystounlockthevastuntappedpotentialofNorthernAustralia,andthe enormousdevelopmentandproductionopportunitiestheregionspresent. FREETRADEAGREEMENTS Wecannotaffordtomisstheopportunitytobuildonourcomparativeadvantagesinfood productiontohelpouragriculturesectorbecomethe'foodbowlofAsia'. OurtradepolicywillsupportAustraliasfarmers,producersandexportersbydeliveringtrade dealsthatmakeadifference. JustlastweekattheAsiaPacificEconomicCooperationmeetinginBali,thePrimeMinister reaffirmedAustraliascommitmenttoattainingtheBogorGoalsoffreeandopentradeand investmentintheAsiaPacificby2020.

Agriculturewillbeatthecentreofourfreetradeagreementnegotiationswithkeyexport partnerssuchasChina,JapanandKorea. Wewillseekambitiousoutcomesonagriculturethatproviderealmarketaccessgainsto Australianexporters. Australiacouldbethefirstsignificantagriculturalproducertoconcludeafreetradeagreement withJapan,givingourexportersacommercialedgeovertheircompetitors. Japanwantstomanageitsfoodsecurityobjectivesthroughstrongerfoodtraderelationswith AustraliaapartnershipthatcouldprovidelongtermexportsecurityforAustralianagricultural producers. OurnegotiationswithChinaoffertheopportunityforAustraliancompaniestotapintoChinas growingmiddleclass,anditsdemandforthekindsofhighqualityagriculturalproductsfor whichAustraliaisrenowned. OurdiscussionswithKoreacouldhelptocatchuplostmarketsharebecauseothercountries haveFreeTradeAgreementswithKoreawhilewedonot. LIVECATTLEEXPORTS InthefewweekssincethefederalelectionthisGovernmenthasalreadygotrunsontheboard. MinisterforAgriculture,TheHonBarnabyJoyceMP,hasnegotiatedincreasedexportsof AustraliancattleandboxedbeeftoIndonesia. Asaresult,Indonesianauthoritieshaveissuedpermitstoimportanadditional75,000headof cattlethisyeartomeetrisingdemand. Itwasanegotiationpursuedbecauseoftheimportanceofourliveexportindustry,andwith AustralianproducersespeciallyinNorthernAustraliainmind. Importantly,itwasthefirstofmanystepsaswebuildalongtermpartnershipwithIndonesia forouragriculturalindustries. AGRICULTURE TheGovernmentseffortstohelpregionalproducersenhancetheircompetitivenessandaccess tointernationalmarketsgowellbeyondbilateraltradenegotiations. Youmaybeawareofourcommitmenttoprepareawhitepaperonthecompetitivenessofthe agriculturesector. Itwillfocusonhowwecanboostagriculturescontributiontoeconomicgrowth,exportand trade,andinnovationandproductivitybybuildingcapacityandenhancingtheprofitabilityof thesector.

WearealsoincreasinginvestmentinRuralResearchandDevelopmentCorporationstobetter delivercuttingedgetechnology,continueappliedresearch,andfocusoncollaborative innovationandextensionintheagriculturalsector. Researchanddevelopmentiscriticaltoincreasingtheproductionofsafe,nutritiousfoodto meetournationalandglobalfoodandfibreneeds. Wearealsocommitting$15millionoverfouryearstosupportsmallexportersbreakintoworld markets. INVESTMENTININFRASTRUCUTURE Moderninfrastructurebeitroads,rail,telecommunications,bridgesorairportsisessential foroureconomy,formuchneededproductivitygainsandforthefutureofourregions. ThisGovernmentwillinvestintheinfrastructurethatAustralianeedstosupportanadvanced andgrowingeconomy. Centraltothatinvestmentisthenationalhighwaysystem. Wehaveguaranteed$5.64billiontofundtheduplicationofthePacificHighwayfromSydneyto theQueenslandborder,tobecompletedwithinthedecade. WeareembarkingonthebiggestworksprogrameverundertakenontheBruceHighway, committingtoan$8.5billionpackagewiththeQueenslandGovernmenttoboostcapacity, reducefloodingandimprovesafetyonthemosttreacherousroadinthecountry. Wehavealsocommitted$700milliontotheToowoombaRangeCrossing,$615milliontothe SwanValleyBypassand$508milliontoupgradesectionsoftheWarregoHighwaybetween ToowoombaandMilesand$400millionforMidlandHighwayinTasmania. Thisisanenormousandcrucialinvestmentinourhighways.Butwewillneedtodomoreasthe freighttaskdoublesoverthenext20years. ThatiswhywearecommittedtotheiconicInlandRaillinewhich,whencomplete,willlinkthe BrisbanetoMelbournevianewrailwaythroughCentralWestNewSouthWalesand Toowoomba. Asanewfreightcorridor,itsconstructionwillcreatecommercialopportunitiesforregional centresrightalongthelengthofitstrack. Our$300millioncommitmentwillensureworkonthelinecommencesbeforethenextelection. NORTHERNAUSTRALIA Now,perhapsmorethanever,strongeconomicgrowthintheAsianregionpresentsnew opportunitiesforAustralianindustriestocapitaliseongrowingworlddemand.

NorthernAustraliaisonthedoorsteptoAsia,andAustraliaistheonlydevelopedcountryinthe worldwithasignificantagriculturesectorlocatedinthetropicalzone. Darwin,Townsville,CairnsandKarrathaareidealfocalpointstobuildcapacity,andtheregional platformnecessarytosustainadditionalprivatesectorinvestment,marketcompetition,job creationandhigherstandardsofliving. OpeningupNorthernAustralia,withitsvastuntappedresources,haslongbeenapartofour nationalvision.ItwillcreateastrongerAustralia. AsweoutlinedinourVisionforDevelopingNorthernAustralia,by2030thereispotentialto: doubleAustraliasagriculturaloutputacrossthenorth,withafocusonpremium,high qualityproduce; growthetourismeconomyinthenorthtotwomillioninternationalvisitorsayear; buildanenergyexportindustryworth$150billionayear,withafocusoncleanand efficientenergy; establishworldclassmedicalcentresofexcellenceinnorthernAustralia,withafocus ontropicalmedicineandresearch; createaneducationhubwithworldclassvocationalandhighereducationcampuses; and growAustraliasexportsoftechnicalskillsinresourcesandagriculture. RealisingthepotentialinNorthernAustraliawillrequireasolidpolicyplatformandeffective collaborationbetweengovernmentsandindustry. Governmentleadershipandprivatesectorinitiativewillalsobevital,aswellasbuyinfrom privateinvestors. Butequallyimportantistheroleofgovernmenttocreatetherightconditionsforinvestment andgrowth. Insomecasesthisinvolvesgovernmentsreducingregulatoryburdens. Inothercasesitwillinvolvegovernmentssupportingregionstobuildthesocialandcommunity infrastructuresoimportanttomodernlifeandensuringthatthesecommunitiesdonotfall behindtherestofAustralia. THEME2:LOCALDRIVERSOFECONOMICDEVELOPMENT AFAIRERSHAREFORREGIONALAUSTRALIA InowcometothelocalcomponentoftheGovernmentsvision. TheGovernmentrecognisesthatregionalAustraliamakesasignificantcontributiontoour nation,andthatmanyregionsarefacingchallenges. Wewillbeworkingtoaddressthesechallengeswithpracticalsolutions.

WewillhelpregionalAustraliatoseizeopportunitiestostrengthenlocaleconomiesandensure ourregionsgetafairshareofthenationsprosperity. WewillbeputtingregionalAustraliaattheheartofthisGovernmentsdecisionmakingby consideringtheeconomic,environmentalandsocialimpactsofpolicydecisionsonregional areas. NATIONALSTRONGERREGIONSFUND DuringtheelectioncampaignItravelledupmorethan42,000kilometrestomorethan60 regionalcommunities. IsawandheardabouttherealproblemsbeingfacedinregionalAustraliahowmany communitiesarefallingbehindthestandardstakenforgrantedinthecities. Thesecommunitiesareentitledtoahelpinghand. ThishelpwillcomeviaadedicatedNationalStrongerRegionsFundtobuildsocialand economicinfrastructuremissingintheregions. Theseprojectswillmakeregionalcommunitiesaplacewheremorepeoplechoosetoliveas theypursueopportunitiesforthemselvesandtheirfamilies. TheFundwillhavethecapacitytogeneratebillionsofdollarsofinvestmentinthemost depressedregionsofournation,targetedtoregionswithlowsocioeconomiccircumstances andwhereunemploymentlevelsarehigherthanthenationalaverage. TheFundwillallowcouncilsandcommunitygroupstoapplyforgrantsbetween$20,000and $10million,tomeetuptohalfthecostofcommunityprojects. TheFundwillhaveaninitialallocationof$200millioneachyearcommencingin2015,andat least$1billionoverfiveyears.Intheinterim,wewillbedeliveringonalmost100projects worthabout$300millionwhichweannouncedduringtherecentelectioncampaign. IamalsoexaminingtheprojectsannouncedbythepreviousgovernmentthroughitsRDAFund. Laborhaspromised$92millionto2018forprojectswithallbut$35millionalready allocated.ThefundingforLaborsRDAFundwastocomefromtheminingtax,butasyouknow theminingtaxhasraisedverylittlemoneyandwearecommittedtoabolishingthistaxon regionalAustralia. Theprojectsarethereforeunfunded. ThenewCoalitionGovernmentwill,ofcourse,honourallsignedcontractswhichamountto some$425million.However,anynoncontractedannouncementsmadebyLaborfallintothe remitofelectionpromises.

Wewillhonourallofourownelectionpromisesbutwedonotfeelcommittedtothepromises madebyouropponents. RememberwhatLabordidwithourRegionalPartnershipsandSustainableRegionsprojects whenwelostofficein2007.EventhoughLaborwasleftwithabudgetsurplusandmoneyinthe bank,theyaxedthelot. LaborrecklesslyannouncedRDAprojectsalloverthecountryintheleaduptoandduringthe federalelection,inthefullknowledgethattheywouldneverdeliverthem.Almost,1,000 projectswereaddedtotheRDAlistinthelastcoupleofmonthsoftheformergovernment mostwithouthavinggonethroughanyassessmentprocess,nonecontractedandhundredsnot everevenannounced. Itisadisappointmentthatsomanypeopleacrossthecountryhadtheirgenuinehopesbuiltup onlytobedashedbywhatwasaLaborcon. IknowthatmostoftheprojectswereworthyandsomewillhavetobefundedsomewayandI amlookingatwhatmaybeavailableforthefuture. Unlikethepreviousgovernmentsphantomfundingbasedonaflawedandfailedminingtax,our $1billionNationalStrongerRegionsFundisfullyfundedandaccountedforaspartofthe Budget. TheNationalStrongerRegionsFundwillsupportjobsandhelpbuildthesocialandcommunity infrastructuresoimportanttomodernlife,includingcommunityfacilitiesandlocalservices.The fundingisguaranteedandasthenationaleconomyimproves,weexpectmorefundswillbe allocatedtoandleveragedfromtheNationalStrongerRegionsFund. TheGovernmentrecognisesthatlocalcouncilsandcommunitygroupsarethefoundationsof regionalareasandweintendtoworkcloselywiththesegroupsthroughtheNationalStronger RegionsFundtocreatedynamic,stable,secureandviablecommunitiesacrossAustralia. LOCALROADS Stronger,sustainablecommunitiesalsoneedsafeandefficientroadstokeepthemconnected witheachotherandwithservicesandmarkets. Ageingnetworkinfrastructureisamajorchallengeforcouncils,particularlyruralandregional councils. ThatiswhywestronglysupporttheRoadstoRecoveryandBlackSpotsprogrammesto eliminateaccidentspotsacrossAustralia. Wecreatedtheseinitiativestohelpaddressthedeplorableconditionsonmanylocalroadsand streets,especiallyinregionalcommunities. Weareveryproudoftheseprogrammesbecausetheyarepracticalsolutionsthathavemade ourroadssafer.

Wealsoknowthatthereareabout30,000localbridgesacrossthecountry,someofwhichare nearingtheendoftheirfunctionallivesandthatitcoststoomuchforlocalcouncilstoreplace them. Thosebridgesarevitalinconnectingpeopletocommunities,tojobs,tomarketsandtoservices andtheykeepoureconomymoving. ThenewGovernmenthasmadea$300millioncommitmenttotheBridgesRenewalProgramme tohelplocalgovernmentstodealwiththischallenge,whilealsoachievinggenuineproductivity androadsafetyimprovements. SMALLBUSINESSANDDEREGULATION WecanttalkaboutregionalAustraliawithoutmentioningsmallbusiness. Smallbusinesspowersregionalemploymentandregionaleconomies. ThisGovernmentisandalwayshasbeenforsmallbusinessbecauseinnovation,investment andenterprisearekeydriversofproductivity. SmallbusinessesemploysevenmillionofAustralias11.5millionworkers,whichiswhytheyare soimportanttoAustralians,particularlyintheregions. Whetheritsthecornerstores,hardwaredealers,farms,thelocalmechanicorsmallretailers, theyarethelifebloodofourregionalcommunitiesandthelivelihoodsforfamiliesrightacross thecountry. Wewilllowercoststobusinessandcutredtapeby$1billion.Weplanarootandbranchreview oftheCompetitionandConsumerActtomakesurethattradingisfairandsmallbusinessesare notdisadvantaged. Wewanttoencourage,notinhibit,thegrowthofsmallbusinessesinregionalAustralia. LOCALENGAGEMENT MeaningfulengagementwithcommunitieswillbeintrinsictohowthisGovernmentoperatesin regionalAustralia. Itwillcontinuetobeacornerstoneofourapproach. Abigpartofthatapproachisanenduringcommitmenttoacommitteebasednetworkof communityleaders. IknowthatsomeofyouwillbecuriousaboutmyviewsonthecurrentRegionalDevelopment AustralianetworkandtheGovernmentsplansforitsfuture.TheperformanceoftheRDA networkismixedandthereisahugevariationinthewayitoperatesfromstatetostate.

Weareconsideringthecurrentarrangementsandhowthatstructurealignswithourvisionfor regionalAustralia. Werecognisethatlocalcouncils,businessesandcommunitygroupsarethebackboneof regionalareasandweintendtoworkcloselywiththesesectorstobuildstrongerregional economiesandcohesivecommunities. CONCLUSION Thankyoufortheopportunitytospeaktoday. IdontneedtotellyouabouttheimportanceoftheregionsSEGRAisastrongandextremely wellqualifiedvoiceonthissubject. IhavealwayslivedinregionalAustraliaandIhopeIhaveimpartedasenseofhowimportant regionalAustraliaistomepersonallyandtothisGovernment. Wehavemadeacommitmenttoengagemeaningfully,investseriouslyandmakeregional Australiaagenuinepartofthenationalconversation. ItsacommitmentforwhichIwouldwelcomeyoursupport. Iwishyouagreatconferenceonethatisfullofnewandcompellingideasthatcanhelpus drivetheregionalagendatogether. [ENDS]