Businesses urged to tap into NSW Regional Development package

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin is urging eligible businesses to tap into initiatives to support jobs and growth in regional and rural NSW.K

LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin is urging eligible businesses to tap into a $35-million package of NSW Government initiatives funded under the $350-million NSW Regional Development Trust.

Ms Saffin said two initiatives immediately relevant to the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands regions were $5 million in low interest loans to eligible small and medium businesses to encourage economic growth and employment, and a further $5 million to empower Aboriginal businesses.

Two initiatives which could potentially benefit our regions in the longer term were $15 million to improve regional and remote airstrips and a $10-million Workforce Activation Package to establish, expand or upgrade childcare initially in Bourke, Broken Hill and Cobar, Ms Saffin said.

All four initiatives have been guided by the Regional Development Advisory Council and informed by several roundtables with rural communities hosted by Minister for Regional New South Wales Tara Moriarty, across the state.

The $35-million package includes:

$5 million to encourage economic growth and employment in regional NSW

  • $5 million will be invested to provide low interest loans to eligible small and medium businesses to encourage economic growth and employment in regional NSW.
  • From last Friday, 17 May 2024, food and beverage manufacturing small and medium businesses will be able to apply for loans between $100,0000 and $1,000,000 with a 2.5 per cent fixed interest for the life of the loan, to allow them to invest in new technologies and equipment that increases efficiency and productivity.
  • NSW is home to more than 30 per cent of the nation’s small and medium enterprises. However, the RBA has highlighted that currently small businesses are finding it difficult to access finance from traditional lenders with approval times, underwriting security requirements and interest rates cited as key concerns.
  • This investment from the NSW Government has been developed to make it faster and easier for regional small businesses to thrive.

$5 million to empower Aboriginal businesses

  • The Aboriginal Economic Development Package will support Aboriginal businesses and organisations to identify and execute commercial opportunities, leading to improved economic and employment outcomes.
  • The funding will assist eligible Aboriginal organisations and businesses to deliver projects that enable improved economic and employment outcomes, for example upgrades to community-controlled facilities or the expansion of native food operations.
  • Aboriginal projects are currently under consideration, with commencement of the pilot program to happen over the coming months. Details coming soon.

$15 million to improve rural and remote airstrips

  • Effective remote and Western NSW airstrips that are accessible all year round will increase economic development opportunities, plus the delivery of health care and emergency services to reach communities that would otherwise be required to travel long distances to access similar services.
  • The New South Wales Government has commenced an audit of rural and remote airstrips across 20 local government areas in Western NSW and will develop a rollout schedule based on priority and need, that will be completed by September this year.
  • Following this, the NSW Government will commence the upgrades of airstrip and aerodrome related infrastructure and equipment improvements.
  • This investment will improve rural and remote communities’ access to critical services, businesses, essential workers and supplies, particularly in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.

$10 million Western NSW Workforce Activation Package to establish, expand or upgrade NSW childcare

  • The Western NSW Workforce Activation Package will provide $10 million to establish, expand or upgrade early childhood and education care across three initial local government areas of Bourke, Broken Hill and Cobar.
  • This initiative is designed to increase the availability of long day care in regional areas.
  • Co-designed with the early childhood sector, this is an innovative approach to strengthening the workforce in remote communities by addressing one of the barrier’s faced by parents looking to return to work in areas where there is little or no early childcare available.
  • Successful applicants must demonstrate that funded activities will increase their ability to offer additional childcare places.

Further investments in these projects will be considered following an initial review of their implementation.

For more information, go to:

FILE PHOTO: Lismore MP Janelle Saffin with Minister for Regional New South Wales during a previous visit to Kyogle’s Natural Rice Co.