$5 billion funding bill for the North ready to go

THE draft legislation to enable the flow of $5 billion into projects in Northern Australia has been released and this is a welcome step in developing jobs and opportunities for the north. This exposure draft legislation for the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) paves the way for the flow of funding into the development of infrastructure, so that this region and other parts of Northern Australia can reach the potential we know is there. Northern Australia holds the country’s rich reserves of energy and resources, it has many thousands of hectares of arable land if we get the right water infrastructure, like Urannah Dam, in place, and we have world-class tourist attractions.

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Grants available for business incubators

GRANTS of between $10,000 and $500,000 are now available for existing and new business incubators across the region to help local start-ups access advice, capital and gain valuable connections. The $23 million Incubator Support initiative will provide matching grants of between $10,000 and $500,000 for the creation of new incubators in regions or business sectors with strong links to international trade, and for existing, high-performing incubators to expand their services. This initiative is focused on bringing local businesses together, through an incubator, to increase collaboration and local knowledge.

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TODAY I announced that a number of applications for funding under the Federal Government's Building Better Regions Fund Community Projects stream have been successful. Three Mackay community and economic development projects have received a boost of a combined $125,000, and the Burdekin Shre Council has received $15,000 to develop a tourism strategy.

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The National Visitor Survey, released today, held good news for the region. There was a 16 per cent increase in Mackay visitor numbers over the past twelve months, and those visitors are staying longer and spending more. The National Visitor Survey showed 883,000 Australian tourists visited Mackay, staying an average of four nights and spending $380 million for the year ending June 2017.

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