- The Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) will be established in Orange, NSW in 2018.
- This supports the Coalition Government’s decentralisation agenda, to boost regional growth by locating agencies with a strong regional focus in the communities they serve.
- The RIC will streamline delivery of $4 billion in concessional loans for farm businesses and water infrastructure.
- Labor have no vision for agriculture and say they oppose the RIC.
The Coalition Government today announced the headquarters of the newly created Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) will be based in the regional NSW town of Orange.
In Orange to make the announcement, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Member for Calare, Andrew Gee, said the RIC’s move to the regional centre in early 2018 would provide a boost for the entire region.
“The RIC was a key Coalition Government election commitment, designed to improve delivery of funds to farmers and ensure greater national consistency in farm business loan assessments,” Minister Joyce said.
“Locating the RIC in Orange makes sense, building on the existing base of agricultural investment institutions in the city, including the New South Wales Rural Assistance Authority and Macquarie Bank’s Paraway Pastoral livestock enterprise.
“Orange is an important agricultural hub in a region which generates about $1.7 billion in gross agricultural production, and is the home of the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
Establishing the RIC here will present new growth opportunities for the city and surrounding area, creating expanded career pathways for regional people.”
Minister Joyce said he was disappointed to hear Labor’s Budget-Reply announcement it would scrap the Coalition’s $4 billion RIC, which he says is another reason Labor should not be returned to office.
“This is further proof Labor has no vision for agriculture, no commitment to grow regional communities and follows earlier decisions by Rudd-Gillard-Shorten to cut the agriculture budget in half when last in office,” Minister Joyce said.
Minister Joyce said, in delivering its key election commitment, the Coalition Government considered several regional locations for the RIC, including Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Bendigo, Lithgow, Toowoomba and Wagga Wagga.
Member for Calare, Andrew Gee, said he had strongly advocated for the RIC to be established in the Calare electorate and looked forward to welcoming the corporation to Orange.
“I am excited to see that the RIC will open here in Orange in 2018, bringing with it about 30 skilled jobs initially, with the capacity to grow as needed,” Mr Gee said.
“Since 2013 the Coalition has delivered more than $660 million in concessional loans to over 1,200 farm businesses, including about $29 million in loans approved to farm businesses here in the Central West region.
“Supporting strong regional growth is a priority for this government and having an organisation like the RIC located here in Orange will help stimulate more local jobs and support local businesses.”
The RIC will be charged with administering the Coalition’s $2 billion farm business concessional loans from 2018–19, as well as the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.
- In 2014–15, the gross value of agricultural production in the NSW Central West region was $1.7 billion—14 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in NSW of $12.1 billion
- The NSW Central West region has a diverse agricultural sector, with the most important commodities in the region (based on the gross value of agricultural production in 2014–15) being wheat ($444 million), followed by cattle and calves ($246 million) and wool ($196 million).
- The town of Orange is home to around 40,000 people, and is the birthplace of Banjo Paterson.
- The government will introduce legislation this year to establish the RIC and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will be engaging with the agricultural sector on the new loan settings in the lead-up to establishing the RIC.