Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce has announced more than $8.7 million has been allocated to develop Stage One of the New England Rail Trail.
Mr Joyce, who is also the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development said the Great Northern Rail Line between Armidale and the Queensland border had not carried trains for 31 years.
“To revitalise this asset and generate economic growth through increased tourism, Glen Innes Severn Council will build Stage One of the New England Rail Trail between Glen Innes and Ben Lomond - a distance of 35.5 kilometres.
“The trail will provide a safe recreational location for cyclists and walkers, attracting an estimated 4,000 overnight visitors and 4,000 day visitors, who will spend in excess of $1.6 million annually at local business,” Mr Joyce said.
The funding has come from a joint Commonwealth / NSW allocation of up to $283 million for 195 Bushfire Local Economic Recovery projects under the Local Economic Recovery Program.
Glen Innes Severn Council will also receive $600,000 for the Highlands Business and Community Hub and Programs, and share in almost $4 million through the Royal Far West Recovery Program as well as over $900,000 for Anglicare’s Road to Recovery program.
Mr Joyce said, “The Bushfire Local Economic Recovery projects have a focus on drawing people to the region, supporting primary industries to enhance economic and social recovery, create jobs, and improve community resilience for future emergency events.
“All projects had been put forward by the community, with funding focused on local solutions to local needs.
“They will make a big difference locally, creating opportunities to increase tourism, employment and economic recovery, as well as building community cohesion and making us more resilient in times of crisis,” Mr Joyce said.
The projects are the latest to be announced as part of a joint investment of more than $500 million in Local Economic Recovery, jointly funded by the Australian and NSW governments to support locally led bushfire recovery initiatives.
Funding for LER projects is just one of the initiatives supported by the Australian Government’s National Bushfire Recovery Fund. To date, more than $2.3 billion in Australian Government support has been provided to help bushfire affected communities, including $1.6 billion spent so far from the National Bushfire Recovery Fund. Over 80 per cent of the available funding has been used to help communities recover from the 2019-20 bushfires.
Details of successful local economic recovery projects in New South Wales – and across other states - are available on the National Recovery and Resilience Agency website at http://www.recovery.gov.au/our-community/local-bushfire-recovery-projects