Friday, 27 September 2013

Is the Abbott Government about to starve local councils of regional funding opportunities?

The Abbott Government is dissolving the Regional Development Australia Fund and, replacing it with the more limited in scope National Stronger Regions Fund which only has a $400 million budget and no funds for distribution until the 2015-16 financial year.

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss on the subject; the establishment of the fund would mean the abolition of Labor's Regional Development Australia Fund and a Coalition Government would not honour projects approved for the next round of funding. [Weekly Times,29 August 2013]

Federal Nationals MP Michael McCormack had this to say about the last round of funding promised under the original scheme; Regional Development Australia fund round 5A is also being viewed as an election promise. [The Area News,26 September 2013] 

This is what local governments on the NSW North Coast were expecting to receive under RDAF—Round Five—Funding Allocations to eligible local governments — $150 million:

Ballina (S)
Clarence Valley
Coffs Harbour (C)
Byron (S)
Lismore (C)
Richmond Valley
Tweed (S)

If this previously promised funding is not forthcoming and, funding under the new 50-50 financial obligation regional grants system will not be available for another twenty-one months, how will this affect projects already planned by these eight councils?

Richmond Valley Council was to use its promised funding to kickstart its planned indoor sports centre at Colley Park.

Clarence Valley Council was intending to use the funding for much needed upgrades to Grafton and Yamba public swimming pools.

Kyogle Council was looking to upgrade access to the Kyogle Memorial Institute and to improve public right of way in C Ward.

While Coffs Harbour City Council wanted to refurbish the Coffs Harbour Regional Museum.

I'm sure that the remaining North Coast councils also had firm plans for the expected grant monies.

Perhaps the Federal National Party MPs for Cowper and Page might like to explain to voters how they are going to assist councils in their electorates with this problem.

1 comment:

sue said...

Perhaps the voters of Page & Cowper thought it was a waste of taxpayer funds to improve infrastructure in their regions. Instead they agreed with Tony Abbott,aka the Infrastructure PM, that Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane were in more need of taxpayer money for toll roads.