The Australian and Tasmanian Governments say they will deliver long term, sustainable employment with a $20 million package to stimulate innovation, investment and jobs in North West and Northern Tasmania.
Announced this week by Senator Kim Carr, Federal Innovation Minister, and David Bartlett, Premier of Tasmania, the package will promote economic development and support jobs in the region.
“We are very disappointed by Tas Paper’s decision to close its paper mills at Wesley Vale by March 2010 and the part closure of Burnie,” Senator Carr said.
“This comes on top of the announcement that McCain will close its vegetable processing plant in Smithton next year, and adds to the uncertainty and pain for thousands of families.
“Our first thoughts go to the workers, their families and communities.”
Bartlett said the Government would engage with the North-West community to find the best ways to keep skilled workers on the Coast.
“We will work with stakeholders including councils, community groups and unions to see this through.
“We want to keep families and communities together and that will be a firm focus of our initiatives.
“People must be the priority in dealing with this issue.”
Senator Carr said the aim of the package is to stimulate investment, create jobs and diversify the economy in the North West and northern Tasmania.
“$12.5 million has been provided by the Commonwealth, $7.5 million by the State Government.”
The assistance will be delivered through two initiatives: the North West and Northern Tasmania Investment and Innovation Fund (NWNTIIF) and the Regional Assistance Program – Tasmania (RAP-Tas).
“We will welcome good quality investment proposals that will stimulate and diversify industry in the local region and create sustainable jobs,” Senator Carr said.
“Applications which advocate the introduction of new innovations and technology and/or emerging industries will be particularly favoured.
“This merit-based grants program will provide financial support for a range of business investment initiatives.”
The $17 million North West and Northern Tasmania Investment and Innovation Fund will operate until June 2011.
Bartlett said the $3 million RAP-Tas program will assist small to medium businesses to undertake projects which will stimulate employment opportunities.
“It includes $500,000 specifically for reskilling redundant workers.”
The NWNTIIF will be administered by AusIndustry in the Commonwealth Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and RAP-Tas program will be administered by the Tasmanian Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts.
Senator Carr paid tribute to the Federal member for Braddon Sid Sidebottom for his tenacity in fighting for the package to support the region.
For more information go to www.ausindustry.gov.au or call the AusIndustry hotline on 13 28 46.