The Federal Government has fast tracked the delivery of its election commitment to establish a new $4 billion Regional Investment Corporation (RIC), and introduced legislation into Parliament to establish the new body.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the introduction of the Regional Investment Corporation Bill 2017 into Parliament was another significant step towards seeing the RIC open for business and delivering for regional communities from 2018.
“We want to get this regional bank up and running for the future growth and prosperity of regional and rural communities. I have wasted no time in delivering on this key election commitment and introduced legislation to the House of Representatives,” Minister Joyce said.
“The Bill establishes the RIC as a corporate Commonwealth entity, under the joint responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and the Minister for Finance. It also ensures the RIC will have a governance structure that balances independent, commercial decision-making with appropriate responsiveness to government and the needs of industry.”
Minister Joyce said the RIC underlines the Federal Government’s commitment to building stronger and more prosperous rural and regional communities and more resilient farm businesses across Australia.
“I recently announced Orange as the headquarters of the decentralised regional bank, initially delivering around 25 jobs for the region,” Minister Joyce said.
“The RIC will administer the Government’s $2 billion farm business concessional loans and $2 billion water infrastructure loans. The RIC will deliver a streamlined and nationally consistent application process for farm business concessional loans, with flexibility to act swiftly to respond when hardships like drought or an industry crisis hit.
“An independent board of three members will oversee performance of the RIC. This board will be skills-based, covering fields such as agribusiness, banking and finance, financial accounting or auditing, economics, water infrastructure planning and financing. Experience in issues affecting rural industries and communities will also be important.
“We have already put out a call for potential board members and I look forward to announcing the new board members once the legislation is through Parliament.”
Source: Australian Government