The Victorian Coalition Government's$1 billionRegional Growth Fund reached its 1,500th project milestone today.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan joined Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development Peter Crisp in Mildura today to announce the Coalition Government would invest $150,000 in Nangiloc Colignan Farms'$1.5 million expansion, the Regional Growth Fund's 1,500th project.
Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government's $150,000 investment enabled Nangiloc Colignan Farms to complete a $1.5 million expansion, creating 12 permanent jobs, 42 harvest jobs, and boosting exports by $7 million a year.
Mr Ryan said this project was indicative of the types of projects the Regional Growth Fund was investing in to create new jobs and investment right across regional and rural Victoria.
"The Regional Growth Fund is designed specifically to invest in communities in regional and rural Victoria; Melbourne cannot access it," Mr Ryan said.
"Over the past three years, the Regional Growth Fund has invested almost $420 million to support 1,500 projects, leveraging $1.7 billion in total investment.
"Compare this with the former Labor Government's failed Regional Infrastructure Development Fund which provided a total of $600 million over 11 years and generated just $1.6 billion in total leveraged investment.
"The Coalition Government has achieved more in regional and rural Victoria in three years than the Labor Party achieved in its entire 11 years of government, and with $200 million less.
"Imagine what the Coalition Government can achieve in eight years with $1 billion.
Mr Ryan said of the Regional Growth Fund's 1,500 investments, 86 were major infrastructure projects, receiving $180 million in direct assistance to generate more than $1.1 billion in total investment.
Mr Ryan said these 86 infrastructure projects would create more than 5,000 direct and 11,000 indirect jobs, while an extra 7,800 jobs were retained and 3,800 created during construction.
"It is not just large infrastructure projects; the Regional Growth Fund is also investing in key local priorities such as hall upgrades, new parks and gardens, rail trails, tourism projects, repairing historic buildings and new community hubs," Mr Ryan said.
"We are helping local councils build and repair bridges, footpaths and roads, and enabling local businesses and farms to boost exports and create new jobs.
"They key to the Regional Growth Fund is that we don't dictate to communities what sorts of projects it should fund they tell us.
"This ensures the Regional Growth Fund is investing in projects that are championed by the community and delivering real benefits to local people."
Mr Ryan said another exciting component of the Regional Growth Fund was the $100 million set aside to extend natural gas to regional and rural communities.