PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS National Stronger Regions Fund

I move:

That this House:

(1) congratulates the Government on the success of the National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF);

(2) acknowledges the significant and positive impact that the NSRF is having in rural, remote and disadvantaged

regions around Australia; and

(3) notes that the:

(a) Government is investing $66,336,110 in 34 projects around Western Australia under 3 rounds of the NSRF; and

(b) NSRF is delivering infrastructure projects to create jobs in regional areas, improve community facilities and support stronger and more sustainable communities across Western Australia.

The National Stronger Regions Fund was established by the coalition government to deliver a $1 billion investment over five years from 2015-16 to 2019-20. It was designed to help regional communities increase productivity and help build confidence in these communities right across the country. These are the very communities that produce so much of our export wealth, be it from mining or agriculture—natural gas, minerals gold, coal, meat, wool or alumina, right across the board. This is something that Labor has never done. The Turnbull government has absolute confidence in rural and regional communities. We not only acknowledge their current contribution to local, regional, state and national economies but also we know there is continuing potential for regional Australia through new opportunities through the free trade agreements as well. We are practically backing these communities and supporting them as much as possible through this program.

In Western Australia, like other regions all over the country, the government is investing in the future of regional communities, delivering infrastructure projects which help create jobs, improve community facilities and create stronger and more sustainable communities. It is an acknowledgement of their great contribution to this country. The government has invested over $66 million in 34 projects around Western Australia—a direct, tangible example of how the Turnbull government is backing regional communities. In my own part of the world, my community has benefited from the third round of the NSRF. Arts Margaret River has benefited from the redevelopment of the arts and business events hub, which will provide venues for arts and cultural performances as well as conferences and business events. This hub is called the HART project; tourism will be involved as well. We will see the redevelopment of the 33-year-old building, and there will be a redevelopment of the 37-yearold squash courts. This is a very exciting upgrade and expansion of the existing facility which will enable many more groups to use the facility. The whole community will be able to enjoy it. This is a very practical outcome. I look forward to attending the graduation ceremonies for the Margaret River Senior High School—a great high school—and even the local small business awards. It will be a multipurpose performance and convention space and expo area that will provide a great spinoff for local businesses.

The government has also invested in the expansion to a freight level of the Busselton-Margaret River Regional Airport, and the state government has also invested in the airport as well. This will lead to an increase in domestic tourism as well through the airport, with possibly an extra 120,000 visitors, which means the opportunities for the arts hub through this investment at the airport are significant. I congratulate the CEO of the Augusta-Margaret River shire, Gary Evershed, and the shire councillors for their commitment to this project. There are some very excited people in that part of the world. It is very important for the community and I do want to acknowledge and pay tribute to the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River and the board of Arts Margaret River for their vision. This fund has been a major success right around the country. When we look at where these projects have practically landed and the difference it is making, we can see that a small amount of money can make a massive difference in small regional communities. There are a great variety of projects, and the one thing they all have in common is that they go to practical outcomes on the ground to assist local communities.

We will also see the Building Better Regions Fund. This fund will also support infrastructure projects and community investment, again creating local jobs, driving local economic growth and helping to build stronger regional communities in the future. I am looking forward to seeing the small community grants part of this program. Very often in these very independent, very self-reliant local communities a small amount of money can make a massive difference. I am proud to be part of a government that shows its commitment to and caring for regional communities and their future. All of my fellow members on this side of the House are very aware of the contribution made by rural and regional Australia.

A division having been called in the House of Representatives—

Sitting suspended from 12:24 to 12:38

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Claydon ): Is the motion before the House, the motion moved by the member for Forrest relating to the National Stronger Regions Fund, seconded?

Mr Craig Kelly: I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.