4 April 2019

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana Chairman John Walkom & the RDA Orana committee have welcomed the Federal Government budget,

Mr Walkom said, there are some fantastic funding
announcements in this years Federal Budget including a $100 million commitment
to upgrading regional airports,

“The expansion of our regional transport systems will create
greater connectivity for our region for both commercial and consumer purposes,

“This funding will allow our regional airport operators to
apply for grants to improve runways, taxiways and provide better fencing,
making it safer for bigger planes to land,

“Economic growth in the Orana region relies heavily on the
movement of goods through efficient and effective transport networks, this
funding will increase the ability of our Orana producers to move products and
resources to domestic and export markets in a timely and efficient manner
increasing productivity and competitiveness for our region,

“RDA Orana have also identified through our freight research
that regional freight is predicted to grow significantly in the next 20 years,
with an increase of 76% on current volumes expected by 2035,

“Upgraded our existing runways could allow for direct
international service capability encouraging this predicted growth,

“This funding will also encourage more tourist to the

“The tourism industry is essential to the Orana region
especially during times of drought, tourist can come for a weekend or a week
stay in our hotels, eat in our cafes and restaurants, and buy from our small
businesses stimulating our local economies,” Mr Walkom said.

“$525 million was also committed to a skills package to boost the VET sector, including $156 million to deliver a new incentive payment to support 80,000 new apprentices in occupations identified as experienced skills shortages,

“This package will also double the incentive payments for
employers to $8,000 for taking on an apprentice, while apprentices will also
receive a $2,000 incentive payment for training,

“With a $7.9 billion project pipeline committed to the Orana
region over the next 5 years trade shortages are a significant challenge being
faced by our workforce, this incentive to support 80,000 new apprentices will
hopefully ease the pressure, Mr Walkom said.

View the RDA Orana’s research on transport logistics and the Orana skills shortage HERE