As of the entry-into-force of the Amendment to the Federal Ministries Act on 29 January 2020, the responsibilities and designations of many ministries have changed. The former “Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism” became the “Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism (BMLRT)”. The responsibilities of the new BMLRT have been extended to include broadband, postal services and telecommunications as well as alternative civilian service.
This means that almost all agendas for rural areas now fall within the competence of the BMLRT:
- Agriculture, domestic food production, strengthening of farmers
- Forestry, protection forests, torrent and avalanche control
- Water management, hydraulic engineering, water management in residential areas
- Tourism country Austria, regional cuisine
- Regional policy
- With broadband network expansion, telecommunications and postal services, important fields of work of the former Ministry of Transport that are crucial to the future of regional development were added.
- Alternative civilian service, too, is now a responsibility of the BMLRT.
“What belongs together stays together! And what matches is added”, Federal Minister Köstinger says. The agendas for broadband network expansion are essential to rural areas. Access to high-frequency broadband networks is not only a key to the competitiveness of rural areas, but is also indispensable for all those living in the regions.” Postal services and high-performance telecommunications networks are substantial aspects in our efforts to ensure equality of opportunities between urban and rural areas.
As regards her new responsibility for the alternative civilian service, Federal Minister Köstinger says “Every town and every village needs civilian service workers! The way in which we organise the alternative civilian service has a direct impact on regional development. If we wish to make Austria’s municipalities, Provinces and regions fit for the future, this will not be possible without the alternative civilian service. It is therefore good and proper that alternative civilian service is now a responsibility of the Ministry in charge of rural areas and the regions”, Köstinger says. “Alternative civilian service IS regional service and is very often the starting point for people to carry out voluntary activities for the rest of their lives”, Köstinger emphasises.