In his speech to the NSW Parliament on Wednesday 5 November 2014, Rev Nile stated:
REGIONAL RELOCATION GRANTS AMENDMENT BILL 2014
Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [4.58 p.m.]: I support the Regional Relocation Grants Amendment Bill 2014 and congratulate the former Deputy Premier, the Hon. Andrew Stoner, on his initiative and vision in encouraging families to relocate to country areas. This policy of the Government is also the policy of the Christian Democratic Party. Decentralisation is a key plank of our policies. We do all we can to support people who live in country areas and encourage those who wish to move to country areas. As members know, I moved to the South Coast for 17 years so I have experienced some of the issues that affect people who live in regional areas. The Hon. Andrew Stoner retired as the Deputy Premier for family reasons. The Christian Democratic Party supported Mr Stoner during his years of service in the Parliament. We had great cooperation from him and admired his conscientious stand on many issues. He leaves the Parliament with our good wishes.
This bill will allow the skilled regional relocation incentive to operate retrospectively, from 30 September 2014 through to 31 March 2015. It will also confirm closure of the regional relocation home buyers grant as of 30 September 2014, by specifying that this grant is only applicable to relocations that commenced on or after 30 September 2014. The bill will allow for that extended time by specifying the skills incentive closure date as 31 March 2015. However, it gives the Minister for Finance and Services the power to amend the closure date by order as needed. At present the Minister for Finance and Services may amend the closure date if the scheme has reached its funding capacity.
This is obviously a budget matter as a specific amount of money is allocated for this project. When that money has been used, the scheme comes to an end but there is nothing to stop the Government from allocating further funding in the next budget for a similar relocation scheme, particularly one targeting the skills incentive, which was done by government amendments to the original scheme. The skilled regional relocation incentive has to date successfully targeted the desired economically active demographic for relocation to regional New South Wales. Since the skills incentive was fully effective in April, 32 per cent of recipients of grants paid from that date to the end of July 2014 were under 30 years of age, 75 per cent were under 40 years of age and 92 per cent were under 50 years of age. Under the original scheme the majority of recipients were in their fifties or sixties, at or near retirement age, whereas to get the full benefit of the scheme it needs to attract people under 30 years of age to contribute to the communities to which they move.
The new skills incentive has helped attract doctors, architects, real estate agents, engineers, mining and farming workers, chiropractors, optometrists, teachers and police officers to regional New South Wales. It is estimated that the continuation of the skills incentive will help to deliver 85 successful job seekers or business operators and their families to regional New South Wales per month. Continuation of the skills incentive will support economic and jobs growth in regional New South Wales, which the Christian Democratic Party fully supports.