Member for New England and Special Envoy for Drought Assistance and Recovery, Barnaby Joyce, is pleased to announce Liverpool Plains Council has secured $768, 897 to upgrade the Quirindi Fire Control Centre, public facilities in villages across to shire including town signage, new water augmentation and the appointment of a drought support officer under the Liberal and Nationals Government’s $81 million Drought Communities Program.
New England councils have now been approved for more than $7.5 million in Australian Government-funded drought assistance so far under the Drought Communities Program.
Liverpool Plains Shire Council will draw on $71,455 provided by the Federal Government to install solar powered emergency lighting and associated equipment required for night operations of emergency helicopters, including an illuminated wind sock at the Liverpool Plains Emergency Services Precinct. The installation of the lighting equipment and wind sock would ensure the facility can be used 24 hours a day.
A further $289,100 will develop unique gateways (entrance) designs to reflect the individual identities of Quirindi and surrounding villages. The signage will help link rural communities and promote a strong sense of identity and pride for local people.
An additional $279,500 will be used to upgrade public facilities such as the refurbishment of amenities blocks, installation of barbecue and camp kitchen facilities in the Freedom Camp areas, installation of air-conditioning units at community halls in Blackville, Warrah and Wallabadah; and installation of a water tank at Blackville hall.
Council will spend $90,000 on the Currabubula Water Tank Augmentation project, connecting to nearby bore to ensure water availability to the community is ongoing.
Additionally, $38,842 will be utilised to engage a drought support officer for up six months to manage drought funding and assist drought-affected community members with support and information.
Project funding is intended to provide short-term support to drought towns, including by boosting local employment and procurement, and addressing social and community needs.
“This is critical funding that will help ease the burden on communities like Quirindi, like Blackville, like Wallabadah, which are all doing it tough during this drought,” Mr Joyce said.
“It will help drive that community dollar further in towns and villages, drawing on local suppliers to increase spending in local businesses.
“I’ve been standing up in my joint party room, fighting for those on the land, driving this agenda on drought and it is great to be delivering on that action for people of the Liverpool Plains.”
Minister for Regional Services, Local Government and Decentralisation Bridget McKenzie said rural Australians show their true colours when times are tough, and for many across New England, and much of NSW and Queensland have seen successive tough seasons.
“Drought has taken a heavy economic and emotional toll across much of eastern Australia. It will take several seasons for things to turn around but these projects will help stimulate the local economy by generating new income, helping the Liverpool Plains region through the tough times,” Minister McKenzie, Deputy Leader of The Nationals, said.
“With regional Australia accounting for around two-thirds of our exports and employing hundreds of thousands of Australians, supporting these communities now is a small price to pay to ensure we keep the economy growing.”
The Drought Communities Program supports communities in the most drought-affected regions of Australia and builds on more than $7 billion of Liberal National Government drought support measures.
In August 2018, the program was extended to provide support of $1 million to 60 eligible councils and in October a further 21 eligible councils were added to reach even more communities suffering through drought.
Funding is available to eligible councils for local infrastructure projects and other drought-relief activities.
For information on the Government’s Drought Communities Program visit: https://regional.gov.au/regional/programs/drought-communities.aspx