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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 16408

Investing in Rural and Regional Communities - Minister Tony Burke

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/02/2009

Release Type: Video Transcript

Transcript ID: 16408

Most Australians know that our farmers and small businesses have been hit by years of drought and extreme weather events, including the recent heatwave in southern Australia.

They've also had to deal with rising input costs, fluctuating commodity prices and, now, the global financial crisis.

Our Nation Building and Jobs Plan will support jobs and investment in rural and regional communities, to help ease these pressures.

It will stimulate economic activity and boost domestic demand for fresh agricultural produce, fish and timber products.

Our plan will help to sustain rural cities and towns by putting money directly into the pockets of drought-stricken farmers and investing in long-term infrastructure.

More than twenty one thousand farmers and small businesses owners currently receiving drought relief payments will receive a one-off Farmers' Hardship payment of $950, starting from March 24.

Regional roads will benefit from $390 million in new funding for maintenance, improving safety at around 200 rail crossings and fixing around 350 dangerous blackspots.

We will construct or upgrade a building in every country school.

And we have committed an extra $500 million over two years to expand the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program - which is used by regional councils and shires to build town halls, libraries and sporting facilities.

All of these measures from the Nation Building and Jobs Plan are in addition to existing support for regional communities.

This includes on-going drought funding, tripling our investment in climate change research and development to $46.2 million and helping farmers with climate change training courses.

As you know, we can't make it rain and we can't change global prices.

There is no silver bullet to the problems faced by our rural and regional communities.

The Government's tough decisions in response to the global recession strike a responsible balance between supporting our jobs and our farmers now and communities we need for future growth.

The Rudd Government's forty two billion dollar nation building and jobs package is strong and decisive action to support jobs and the economy in the face of the worst global recession since the Great Depression.

Transcript 16408