THE Australian Government has reviewed projects left uncontracted and unfunded by the previous Labor Government, today announcing it will fund five projects in New England as a priority under the Coalition’s new Community Development Grants Programme.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss and Federal Member for New England and Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce have confirmed $9.3 million for the Armidale, Tamworth, Guyra and Werris Creek communities.
The local projects, previously in limbo, that will now be funded include:
- $3.5 million to Armidale Dumaresq Council to assist with the Armidale Airport upgrade
- $1.2 million to Tamworth Regional Council to assist with the Chaffey Dam upgrade
- $500,000 to Guyra Shire Council towards the establishment of a new dementia wing at the Kolora aged care facility in Guyra
- $80,000 to the Werris Creek Community Shed Inc for its Community Shed facility
- $250,000 to the New England Regional Art Museum Limited to assist with the Museum’s air-conditioning upgrade
- $3.84 million towards maintenance along Thunderbolt’s Way
“The Community Development Grants Programme makes good on our election commitment to support infrastructure that promotes stable, secure and viable local and regional economies,” Mr Joyce said.
“A new Government has to deal with the financial realities of the previous Government and securing the funds for the people of New England has been a priority of mine while in Canberra. Whilst I have been away from the office in New England, I have been working very hard in Canberra to ensure we deliver for our area.
“Our Government is committed to providing long-term improvements in social and economic infrastructure for regional communities.
“Unlike the previous government’s phantom funding, based on a flawed and failed mining tax, the Coalition is ensuring vital community assets are properly funded and budgeted for.
“Today’s announcement is greatly welcomed news for locals who have been through much heartache. Promises made, but not funded, by the previous government have been gut-wrenching for people who have put in so much effort.
“Today the Coalition has delivered on our election commitments and, at the same time, cleaned-up the funding mess left behind by Labor.”
The programme will be administered by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, which will undertake a value-for-money assessment against the programme guidelines to ensure transparency in decision-making about funding election commitments.
“I am really looking forward to continuing my work with all the local project proponents to help implement these important community initiatives and to delivering genuine benefits to the people of New England”, Mr Joyce said.
Funding recipients will be contacted shortly and asked to provide detailed project information, including project outcomes and benefits, planning and costs and delivery timeframes.