Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
Fisheries and Aquaculture
Tourism, Culture and Recreation
April 26, 2007
Taking Action to Achieve Our Vision of a Prosperous Newfoundland and Labrador: Investing in Economic Development and Diversification
The Williams Government, in Budget 2007, continues to focus on developing and diversifying the economy in all parts of the province, particularly in rural areas, as part of its steadfast commitment to economic renewal to secure a prosperous future for Newfoundland and Labrador. Today, the Provincial Government highlighted more than $70 million in business assistance programs, natural resources, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, and culture to stimulate business growth, to create jobs and to strengthen the economies of rural areas. This is in addition to $32 million allocated to the Department of Business for business attraction activities.
"Investments made in Budget 2007 once again show that our government is responding to the needs of industries and sectors throughout the province," said the Honourable Trevor Taylor, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development and Minister Responsible for the Rural Secretariat. "We are providing assistance to businesses and organizations to develop products and services, to identify new markets and to acquire the necessary infrastructure to support business development."
Over the past three years, the province has worked with industry, development groups and municipalities to identify regional strengths and has complemented them with Provincial Government programs that will help generate long-term sustainable employment. Each region is building on its identified strengths to create new industries, together with small business and employment opportunities. These strategies will be supported by advanced education and training, by applied research, and by appropriate regional infrastructure and supports to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Enhancing Trade and Export Opportunities
Minister Taylor said expanded access to export markets is essential for continued growth of the province�s economy, and more Newfoundland and Labrador companies are seeing the benefits exporting brings to their bottom lines. To enhance trade and export development activity in the province, Budget 2007 is allocating an additional $500,000 for theimplementation of a refocused Export Development Strategy. The funding will be used for:
To assist new entrepreneurs and expanding small businesses to acquire the necessary expertise to pursue new business ideas and new markets for their products or services, the Provincial Government is continuing its $1 million Business and Market Development Program. To encourage start-up, modernization, and expansion of businesses throughout the province, Budget 2007 continues to provide financing to companies with $8 million for the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Fund. To support the development of trade relationships between Ireland and Newfoundland and Labrador, funding of $500,000 is continued for the Ireland Business Partnerships. The Provincial Government will invest $10 million in Budget 2007 for the installation of a fibre optic telecommunications link which will run from St. John�s to Halifax along two diverse routes to connect the national carriers into mainland Canada.
To assist local not-for-profit organizations with their economic development efforts, the Provincial Government is again committing $5 million, plus $2.78 million in carry-over, to the Regional/Sectoral Diversification Fund, as well as providing $1.2 million to regional economic development boards to carry out their mandates.
The Rural Secretariat is working with government departments and citizens to identify and advance regional and rural policy priorities that are sustainable, achievable, realistic and affordable. The Provincial Government�s role is to ensure that policies, regulations and decisions are informed by rural considerations. The Rural Secretariat supports this effort by actively engaging and working with citizens, through nine regional councils and a provincial council, to build knowledge and awareness of rural sustainability challenges and opportunities, and to identify and advance regional policy priorities. Regional councils are developing broad policy priorities for action and are engaging more broadly with citizens in their regions. The Rural Secretariat has a budget of $1.85 million to support these efforts.
Building on Our Natural Resources
The development of the province�s natural resources � from forestry to mining to agriculture and the fishery � has an important role in growing the province�s economy, particularly in rural areas of the province.
To build on the significant momentum in the province�s mineral industry, Budget 2007 is providing $1 million to the Department of Natural Resources to increase geological mapping throughout the province. This will increase mineral exploration and the economic benefits it brings to rural communities.
"The substantial growth we are experiencing in the mining industry demonstrates the importance of strategic investment in our resource industries," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. "We are continuing our record-high investment of $2.5 million in the Mineral Incentive Program this year to build on the surge in mineral exploration spending, which hit $98 million in 2006 and is forecast to reach $116 million in 2007."
Budget 2007 investments in agriculture represent the requirements of an emerging sector and the type of program support needed to ensure continued growth. The initiatives enable the department to improve the manner in which it delivers programs and services. The Provincial Government is continuing the $4-million Agriculture and Agrifoods Development Fund, which was established last year to support large-scale agriculture and agrifoods projects, and the $2-million Provincial Agrifoods Assistance Program to assist farmers, processors and agricultural associations.
TheProvincial Government is also committed to assisting farmers and other agrifood producers to effectively maintain and enhance their infrastructure and operations. To that end, Budget 2007 contains:
"Budget 2007 contains strategic investments that enable our government to continue to aggressively invest in agriculture at a critical time in the commercialization and diversification of the sector," said Minister Dunderdale.
TheProvincial Government is investing in initiatives to support the forest sector:
Fisheries and Aquaculture
As part of the Provincial Government�s plan to diversify the economy, Budget 2007 will see major leaps forward in fisheries and aquaculture development. The last two years have seen the budget of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture more than double and Budget 2007 continues to make significant investments in fisheries and aquaculture.
"Newfoundland and Labrador was built on the fishery and we understand that it continues to be a critical component of the provincial economy," said the Honourable Tom Rideout, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. "Clearly, investment in developing and diversifying our fishery is a priority for government. To ensure the fishery continues to support the development of rural Newfoundland and Labrador, our government remains committed to making strategic investments in fisheries and aquaculture."
Specific investments in Budget 2007 include:
Just recently, the Provincial Government announced $15 million in direct program activities for Fishing Industry Renewal initiatives. As part of this plan, Budget 2007 includes $5 million in total for enhanced marketing, research and development initiatives, occupational health and safety initiatives and the implementation of fish auctions. Other initiatives of the total $140 million Fishing Industry Renewal commitments by the province include an estimated $100 million loan guarantee program and approximately $25 million to fund the province�s share of the capital gains exemptions that were recently announced for harvesters.
As part of the Fishing Industry Renewal initiatives, the Provincial Government will provide adjustment support measures should fish plants close permanently. This will include a comprehensive suite of counseling, training and adjustment measures to assist during the transition period. To this end, a total of $850,000 is allocated for the workforce adjustment program in Budget 2007. The Provincial Government has allocated $2.55 million for this initiative, over the next three years.
Tourism a Force for Economic Development
Generating $820 million in annual revenue and employing 47,000 people directly and indirectly, Newfoundland and Labrador�s tourism industry is a force for economic development throughout the province.Travelers arrive here in ever-increasing numbers for a unique experience � one that combines both leisure and adventure with an opportunity to explore the province�s vibrant culture and rich history.
In Budget 2007, the Provincial Government continues strategic investments in the tourism and cultural sectors through increased investment in tourism marketing and the development and implementation of tourism and cultural strategies. This investment builds upon the province�s investment in Budget 2006 of $17.6 million over three years to implement a cultural plan that preserves, supports and develops the province�s cultural resources.
Key investments include:
"Government�s increased investment in tourism and culture has reaped tremendous economic benefits for all of Newfoundland and Labrador," said the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. "This funding builds on the tremendous success we have enjoyed in our efforts to market this great province to Canada and the world. An increased investment in tourism marketing, along with new investments for developing and implementing related strategies, will see us achieve further sustainable economic growth and employment opportunities for communities throughout the province."
- 30 -
2007 04 26 2:05 p.m.