More than 20,000 rural development developers are applying for payment in the Rural Development Payment Scheme (RDP), with the Government saying it has made “significant progress” in delivering the payments scheme.RDP is one of the Government’s major development policies, with the aim of giving small and medium-sized businesses an incentive to invest in their communities, particularly in rural areas.
The Government is also offering rural and remote rural businesses a cash incentive for their development plans, and will announce further changes to the RDP later this month.
A total of 1.24 million payments have been made under the scheme since it was introduced in September 2017.
In a statement, Rural Development Minister Tim O’Neill said that while it is “important that the scheme is administered fairly and that people can get their money back quickly” the Government had made “serious progress” to deliver the payments to rural businesses.
“We’ve made significant progress over the last three months, delivering more than 4,000 payments to RDP participants,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The payments are being processed on a rolling basis and there are more than 1,300 payments that have been processed this month, compared with 2,200 last year.”
“We’re also working with the State Government to establish a regional Rural Development Fund to fund rural development projects across Australia.”
He said that in 2019 the RSP would be rolled out nationally, and that by 2023 the scheme would be extended to cover all Australian communities.
“In 2021, we’ll roll it out across all 50 states and territories, including New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia,” he said.
Mr O’Connor said the Rural Payments Scheme was one of “several of the key measures” the Department was working on to improve rural development policy.
“This includes making it easier for rural and regional businesses to access cash and support, and ensuring there is more funding for rural development in areas with a large number of small businesses,” he explained.
“These measures have also been a key driver in achieving significant savings in government spending on projects, as well as improving the quality of services delivered by the Government.”
He also announced that the Rural Government Payments Fund (RGPF) would be re-allocated to rural communities and businesses in 2019.”RGPFs are a direct benefit to communities and small businesses and are paid directly to small businesses who are in need of help with small business projects and are working with communities to deliver,” he added.
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