Around 20 local people gathered at Montrose House in Canowindra on Monday to meet with the Deputy Premier of NSW and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro and Rick Colless Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources and Western NSW for an informal lunch and very informative talk about the direction of the NSW Government especially in relation to rural NSW.
The Deputy Premier has been on a two week long road trip travelling around the state listening to the concerns of locals. “It is great to get out on the road and meet with the local communities to get a sense of what is happening in their region,” said John Barilaro. The NSW Government delivered a budget earlier this year with a strong focus on Regional NSW. John said that “The Governments main focus is to ensure the regional communities have a future.”
There were many questions from locals at the lunch about a range of topics including Inland Rail and freight costs to local businesses,
Central West Water and in particular the Cranky Rock Dam Project, Mobile Blackspots in the region, Skills Training and who can apply for the Arts and Culture Group Funding. John Barilaro then went on to say that “The biggest issue facing the NSW Central West seems to be water.” The Deputy Premier had been in Orange earlier that day to announce that applications will be opening soon for the $200 million Stronger Country Communities Fund, John Barilaro, said the NSW Government is calling on local community groups in the region to nominate infrastructure projects to rebuild and refurbish local facilities.
“Applications for funding opens on 20th September, so I encourage members of the community to nominate infrastructure projects that will improve the lives of people in the Central West and enhance the attractiveness of rural and regional NSW as a place to live, work or visit,” Mr Barilaro said. “The Stronger Country Communities Fund will build new parks, playgrounds and cycle pathways and refurbish local schools, health facilities, libraries and community centres that grow our local communities.”
Mr Barilaro said the fund will support projects between $100,000 and $1 million, or higher with financial cocontribution, across 92 local government areas (LGA) in regional NSW, including Cabonne Shire, Forbes Shire, Parkes Shire and the City of Orange. “The 2017-18 NSW budget is about delivering for all communities. Every regional community will have access to these funds, and every regional community will have the opportunity to receive their fair share,” Mr Barilaro said.
Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources and Western NSW, Rick Colless, said the Stronger Country Communities Fund presents an opportunity for Orange to embark on innovative infrastructure projects to entice people to live and work in the Central West. “The Stronger Country Communities Fund will use ‘choicemodelling’, where locals have a say in the selection process, to
ensure investment in projects that support their aspirations,” Mr Colless said.
The Stronger Country Communities Fund is part of new funding under the NSW Government’s $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund, designed to improve economic growth and productivity with investment in regional communities.