AUSSIE Biscuits’ plans to move into new premises in Forbes and expand its workforce have received a massive boost from a grant through the Liberal and Nationals  Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, local Nationals’ MP Michael McCormack says.

The $420,000 project will receive $210,000 from the Federal Government through the fund.

“It’s great news for Forbes, for local jobs and for communities throughout the Central West,” Mr McCormack said.

“As Australia’s Small Business Minister I’m particularly excited to have helped ensure the expansion plans of this vital regional enterprise.

“Aussie Biscuits already employs more than 30 people at Forbes, 28 of whom have a disability, and it plans to add another eight people to its workforce – a fantastic local boost.”

Mr McCormack made personal representations to the Minister for Regional Development, Senator Fiona Nash, in support of Aussie Biscuits’ Building Better Regions Fund grant application.

Aussie Biscuits, operated by House With No Steps, has been a part of the Forbes community for more than 40 years.

“It is a critical business to the Forbes district both economically and socially,” Mr McCormack said.The grant will allow Aussie Biscuits to move to a new site in Rankin Street and purchase fit-for-purpose equipment.

The Building Better Regions Fund received more than 500 applications and Aussie Biscuits was one of about 100 which were approved.

"I am really proud to have worked with Aussie Biscuits delivering this boost and look forward to seeing it deliver benefits to Forbes district,” Mr McCormack said.

Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash said she created the Building Better Regions Fund to help build strong communities for decades to come.

"I aim to help build the kinds of regional communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to, and projects like this one do exactly that," Minister Nash said.

“After a competitive merit-based selection process, there are always those who were not successful and are naturally disappointed.

“We know this and we've got dedicated staff in the Department of Industry to give tailored feedback to each unsuccessful applicant to help improve those applications for next time.

“They can be contacted on bbrffeedback@industry.gov.au."

House With No Steps Executive General Manager of Business and Employment, Brett Lacey, thanked Mr McCormack for supporting the grant application.

“Michael McCormack’s support as Minister for Small Business is deserving of special mention,” Mr Lacey said.

He said the project would create new employment opportunities for people with a disability.

“Employment participation for people with a disability nationally continues to be way too low,” Mr Lacey said.

“Opportunities in regional areas can be even harder to come by, so this grant to assist the development and expansion of Aussie Biscuits is a huge boost.

“Securing employment for existing employees, along with establishing new positions for people in the region with a disability, is a great result.

“We are thrilled to receive this news.”

Minister Nash said she expected to open another round of BBRF before the end of the year.

Minister Nash will announce the successful applicants for funding under the BBRF’s Community Investments Stream – for projects designed to support a range of local capability-building activities – in the coming months.

More information about the Building Better Regions Fund is available at: www.business.gov.au/bbrf

Ken Grimson