ORANGE will be home base for the Coalition’s new $4 billion Regional Investment Corporation (RIC).
Also known as the “Barnaby Bank” after Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, the RIC will aim to streamline the delivery of drought support loans and water infrastructure financing.
It will come under the portfolio powers of Mr Joyce’s Agriculture and Water Resources Department and saw $28.5 million allocated in last week’s budget to formally establish the new entity in 2018.
Mr Joyce announced on Tuesday that Orange would be the new base for the RIC when it’s due to open next year.
Last week after the budget, Mr Joyce said a number of regional towns would make good candidates to host the RIC, which he expects to base up to 100 staff once fully operational.
The new commonwealth agency that aims to supersede state bureaucracies to expedite delivery of concessional loans to farmers battling drought or other extreme financial challenges was an agricultural election policy commitment by the Coalition, announced by Mr Joyce in last year’s campaign.
VIDEO: Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce addresses the media:
Mr Joyce says the RIC being based in Orange also supports the 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 $2b in concessional loans for farm businesses and $2b for water infrastructure.
Mr Joyce said locating the RIC in Orange “makes sense” while building on the existing base of agricultural investment institutions in the city, including the NSW 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,” he said.
“Establishing the RIC here will present new growth opportunities for the city and surrounding area, creating expanded career pathways for regional people.”