Deputy PM assesses move of govt. jobs to Coffs Coast
COFFS Harbour's strength as a call centre hub for government departments has today been assessed by Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss.
On the invitation of Cowper Federal Member Luke Hartsuyker, Mr Truss visited the Coffs Harbour Centrelink Call Centre, which now employs more than 400 people.
The timing to talk about relocated government jobs to the North Coast couldn't have been better for Mr Hartsuyker given Mr Truss this afternoon gave the key note address at the Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) Conference.
Speaking to stakeholders from organisations across regional Australia at Novotel Pacific Bay Resort, Mr Truss said regional economies would be crucial in stabilising the Australian economy.
"We are committed to helping regional Australia pursue and seize more ambitious opportunities," Mr Truss said.
"Central to our vision is a commitment to deliver a fairer share to those who live outside the capital cities.
"Regional Australia produces most of our nation's export income and drives much of our national growth, but it often does not receive the attention it deserves.
"Everyone here knows how important it is for businesses in regional Australia to tap into global supply chains and capitalise on the opportunities presented by new and emerging national and international markets.
"Strong business builds and supports our regional economics and they need good infrastructure and services to drive economic development at the local level.
"Now, more than ever, the regions need to, and will be, front-and-centre in our national consciousness," he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss' key points raised in Coffs Harbour today.
Free trade agreements
- Free trade agreements with export partners such as China, Japan and Korea could see the agriculture sector become the 'food bowl of Asia,' including increase exports of Australia cattle and boxed beef to Indonesia.
Investment in Infrastructure
- We have guaranteed $5.64 billion to fund the duplication of the Pacific Highway from Sydney to the Queensland border, to be completed within the decade.
- A $300 million commitment to the iconic Inland Rail line which, when complete, will link the Brisbane to Melbourne via new railway through Central West New South Wales and Toowoomba. This will ensure work on the line commences before the next election.
- Opening up Northern Australia, with its vast untapped resources in centres such as Darwin, Townsville, Cairns and Karratha, including doubling agricultural output, growing tourism, building an energy export industry worth $150 billion a year, establishing world-class medical centres of excellence and creating an education hub.
Fair Share for Regional Australia
- A dedicated National Stronger Regions Fund-to build social and economic infrastructure missing in the regions.
This will allow councils and community groups to apply for grants between $20,000 and $10 million, to meet up to half the cost of community projects.
Initial fund allocation of $200 million each year starting in 2015 and at least $1 billion over five years.
In the interim, delivery of almost 100 projects worth about $300 million. Projects announced by the previous Labor Government through its RDA fund will be assessed.
- Roads to Recovery and Black Spots programs to assist councils with the repair of accident hotspots, poor roads.
A $300 million commitment to the Bridges Renewal Program to help local governments to deal with this challenge.
Small Business and deregulation
- Lowering costs to small business which employs seven million of Australia's 11.5 million workers, by $1billion.