Strong response to stimulus fund

The Australian and Tasmanian Governments say the response to the North-West and Northern Tasmania Investment and Innovation Fund has been so overwhelming that a second funding round is not necessary.

The Australian and Tasmanian Governments say that the response to the North-West and Northern Tasmania Investment and Innovation Fund has been so overwhelming that a second funding round is not necessary.

Offers of funding will be made before Easter. The fund is part of a $20 million stimulus package announced in December in response to the closure of a number of large factories in the region.

Federal Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr and Tasmanian Treasurer Michael Aird welcomed the positive response from businesses to a fund aimed squarely at promoting local development and local jobs.

“Both governments moved quickly to announce the assistance and business has been just as quick in its response,” Senator Carr said.

“We have received 126 applications for funding.

“With all regional structural adjustment funds, it is important we act decisively and get the funds flowing quickly. We believe the region will get more value out of us allocating all the funds in one round.

“Projects will be up and running sooner and more jobs will be created in a shorter time frame.

“My department, through AusIndustry, is pulling out all stops assessing applications. I aim to announce the first recipients before Easter.”

Aird said the volume of applications is evidence that the funding is timely and targeted.

“Given that eligible projects must have matching funding on a 50:50 basis, it speaks volumes about the confidence that businesses have in this region that they are willing to invest for expansion purposes,” Aird said.

“But, more importantly, the positive take up will enable the projects to be started and completed quickly, ensuring that new jobs are created as early as possible.”

Aird added that he was encouraged by the number of applications under the Regional Assistance Package (RAP Tas) — the second assistance measure announced to assist the region — and encouraged eligible businesses to apply for round 2 by 15 March 2010.

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