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APEN 2001 International Conference

Toowoomba, 4th-5th October 2001

Report No:


Title of Topic:

The Role of Targeted Public Funding in Rural Community Development.

Name of Leader:

John Day

Names of Participants:

Peter Metcalfe, Joy Deguara, Ian Tarbotton, Peter Stephen, Eric Anderson, Cheryl Sisson,

Main points of discussion

Putting something in is the beginning, ie a catalyst – Very Positive.

  • The issue develops a lot of questions:
  • Who will initiate etc.
  • Who will make it work
  • Has the community decided this or is it only political
  • Being targeted is appropriate
  • Where does the individual finish and the community begin.

An example of a project which is providing this is the Dairy Regional Assistance Program (DRAP). Some key criteria of the project are:

  • Applicants can be either groups or individuals and can be either commercial or not for profit.
  • Funding is 50/50 for commercial operations
  • The project must provide long term job outcomes, one job for approximately very $20,000 to $30,000 of funding form the funding body
  • Businesses must have a business plan with good marketing information and future cash flow projections etc.
  • The other details are available from Area Consultative Committees who administer the program in regional Queensland.
  • How can we invest money into communities so that the community can develop without having to met political agendas
  • The reality is that these issues are political about specific regions
  • You need to look at the process not where the funds were distributed.
  • Are the jobs created sustainable?
  • People have good ideas but can’t find partners or attract resources to make it happen.
  • Organisations like Growzone and Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation (BIEDO) could be used as a base from which to distribute funding for such programs to reduce bureaucracy
  • Could set up local revolving loan type systems using super funds or Bendigo bank type systems to fund such programs with low interest loans. Could even be administered through local government.
  • There is validity in having small kick-start
  • There is a real sea saw between bureaucracy and the criteria for the funding.that is valid and important.
  • Should be worked through community groups, set up locally with systems that don’t necessarily use government funding in the long term.
  • Get government money to start the whole process and then move to locally derived loans etc.
  • In a free market – if they have to be propped up - is there a need to do this anyway.
  • Extension is involved in the capacity building through confidence building and capacity building in skills like business planning
  • There is a similar program in Western Australia called the Opportunity program which supports groups to do business planning and sorting out new business directions etc. They have seven large groups’ 2,500 members and subgroups doing value-adding etc.
  • DRAP also encouraged value adding and innovative diversified projects.
  • Incentive scheme, seed funding favourably looking at proposals over more than one property. A New Zealand model for land care type sustainability issues.
  • There are big multipliers from these projects in communities.
  • Should we target and try to prop up some rural communities.
  • Could use forums to look at other options for towns other than agriculture.
  • Key word are Targeted and Seed.
  • Another program that is relevant is Habitat for Humanity, housing project no interest loans for housing. There are similar programs through local government.

Major outcomes (what have you achieved from this discussion; how can this make a difference; what else do you need to do?)

The group has contributed to a pool of information which will be used to produce a paper on the DRAP program and it’s benefits to rural communities.

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