Hogan calls for change
DESPITE his electorate winning $13 million in Federal Government National Stronger Regions funding, Member for Page Kevin Hogan said there needs to be more tweaking of the distribution.
"I wasn't happy with some of the grants in round one definitely and have been in contact with the minister to have the guidelines tweaked," he said.
Mr Hogan was disappointed to learn so much of the first two rounds of the fund distribution had gone outside regional areas.
Research from ARM Newsdesk, the national wing of The Daily Examiner, has found about 20% of the fund distribution has been allocated to projects in major metropolitan areas.
The $1 billion five-year program was created to boost economic development in regions.
But ARM Newsdesk analysis has found since the fund was launched last year, $95 million in the first two rounds of funding has gone to metropolitan areas across Australia.
Mr Hogan was shocked football clubs like the Brisbane Broncos and Brisbane Lions have submitted requests for millions of dollars for training facilities in the Queensland capital.
"I hadn't heard about the football clubs applying for these funds," he said.
"I don't think there is any way football clubs should be getting any of this money."
Mr Hogan said Page had done well out of the fund with $4 million of the funds going to the Harwood Sugar Mill to boost its capacity.
"Overall Page received $13 million distributed right across the electorate," he said.
Federal Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash said the Stronger Regions Fund was part of an election promise to strengthen economies in Australia's most disadvantaged communities.
She said more than three quarters of the projects funded in the first two rounds were outside of major city areas.
"Regional centres deserve the same attention as inner CBDs and outer suburbs," she said.
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has slammed the Stronger Regions Fund and said too much federal funding was going to infrastructure projects in the country's south, while the north was getting left behind.
The Regional Australia Institute recently released a report that said 31 of Australia's small cities had outperformed the major cities' economic growth rate between 2002 and 2010 but received little attention.
The report said the Australian Government should establish a Small City Deals policy that brings all levels of government and the city into one agreement to help drive development.
Senator Nash said this was not a new idea from RAI.