Set up urban development body: Joyce

A NEW body should be created to ensure regional development funds were spent entirely in regional areas, Senator Barnaby Joyce told ALGA council leaders in Canberra on Wednesday.

Addressing the Australian Local Government Association at its national general assembly, the Coalition spokesman for regional development said an Urban Development Australia body should be set up.

"So, one suggestion is that, instead of calling everything regional and confusing everybody, we recognise and reflect this diversity by establishing a Regional Development Australia and an Urban Development Australia," he said.

"That way the diverse needs of all Australian local governments can be reflected and the Regional Development Fund to fund the projects which are in the true regional, rural and remote areas of Australia."

Senator Joyce said a letter he sent to all councils had garnered many constructive responses.

"A number of responses to my letter indicated that perhaps a tiered approach to regional development and local government funding would be appropriate," he said.

"Specifically, the first part of the tiered approach would see an amount of funding given to each local government area to fund the development or improvement of community and social infrastructure within their communities.

"The second part of the tiered approach would be to have a competitive fund set up with the purpose of funding larger projects that are real economic drivers in these areas."

Senator Joyce was the third federal parliamentarian to address the conference, after Local Government Minister Simon Crean and Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne.



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