Riverland hopefuls forced to play waiting game on Futures Fund

Premier Weatherill must ensure that his Labor Government reopens the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund following revelations that businesses still have no information about how to access the remaining $5.1 million.
 

Premier Weatherill must ensure that his Labor Government reopens the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund following revelations that businesses still have no information about how to access the remaining $5.1 million.
 
Despite South Australia signing the Intergovernmental Agreement to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan last week, Minister Gago yesterday in Parliament’s Estimates Committee failed to provide any assurances as to how and when the Riverland can access the remaining funds.
 
Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone said that last year Minister Gago announced that the $5.1 million would be leveraged as part of the $100 million Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program.
 
“However, Minister Gago yesterday indicated that amount might actually be leveraged from the $265 million River Murray Improvements Program,” said Mr Whetstone.
 
“There is still no indication of when these funds will be available and whether businesses that applied previously can still access them – this isn’t good enough.
 
“Many businesses hoping for assistance expended significant time and effort submitting applications to the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund only to discover they have to reapply to a different program with no detail.”
 
Mr Whetstone said the Riverland is increasingly frustrated after being forced to wait for guidelines to access the remaining Futures Fund money.
 
“There have been countless broken promises from Premier Weatherill and his tired Labor Government throughout this process and an overwhelming lack of detail.
 
“Riverland businesses are rightfully questioning the Weatherill Labor Government’s continued commitment to the fund.
 
“Premier Weatherill must ensure that Minister Gago makes a decision about how and when the $5.1 million will be spent and provide Riverland businesses with some certainty.
 
“South Australians deserve a Government with better priorities to get our state back on track.”

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