Sandbar Citrus are preparing for a busy Murcott season.
Sandbar Citrus are preparing for a busy Murcott season. Felicity Ripper

$10m in Rural Economic Development Grants

WHILE the Burnett and Wide Bay is home to the highest level of recorded unemployment in Australia, businesses in the region have the opportunity to help turn things around.

The first round of the State Government's Rural Economic Development Grants program has $10 million up for grabs with expressions of interest applications closing next Friday, October 26.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner said the RED Grants are available to help fund agricultural-related projects that can generate employment opportunities to rural Queenslanders.

"Up to $250,000 is available as a matching co-contribution to successful applicants," Mr Furner said.

"The program supports "shovel-ready" projects that create jobs related to primary production and provide significant economic benefits to rural and regional communities."

Mr Furner said expressions of interest received to date represent a wide range of agricultural industries and locations from across regional Queensland.

"Proposals so far for this initial round have come from sectors such as livestock, horticulture and aquaculture," he said.

"Of those the total projects are worth some $14 million and have the potential to create more than 120 new long-term jobs in rural and regional Queensland.

"Some projects are looking to value-add existing rural businesses, while others are looking to develop new products for domestic or export markets.

Mr Furner said all of the submissions so far received have proposed to grow and expand their businesses and in turn create vital jobs for the regional towns.

Expression of Interest for Round One must be received by next Friday with successful applicants then invited to submit a full application.

Businesses related to the primary production supply chain are encouraged to apply.

There will be a further two rounds of funding available under the RED Grants program for projects that may not ready to progress for this current round.

The program is funded for $10 million over three years.

The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) is administering RED Grants on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

For more information of the RED Grants including program guidelines and the Expression of Interest form, visit the QRIDA website at www.qrida.qld.gov.au/redgrants


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