Labor pledges $5m cash for Casino
By Alex Easton
A LABOR plan to pump $5 million into two Casino infrastructure projects would be a major boost to the town's economic and social future, Mayor Charlie Cox says.
Opposition regional development spokesman Simon Crean has said a Labor government would contribute $3 million to a new community centre planned for Casino and $2 million into the town's CBD upgrade.
Cr Cox said the CBD upgrade would help secure the future of the town's business sector, while the community centre would allow for a major expansion of the library while providing a new base for the neighbourhood centre and services for senior citizens, youth, infant health, and aged and disability services.
The two-storey community centre would be designed to allow a third storey in the future.
"If they made it into government we could turn the first sod (on the new community centre) the day after the election," Cr Cox said.
Cr Cox yesterday said the projects were both vital to Casino's future, but until Mr Crean's announcement which would cover about half the cost of each project if Labor won office neither had been expected any time soon.
The council had applied to the Commonwealth for funding, but the application had been rejected, Cr Cox said.
"I'm overwhelmed (by Labor's) offer and the potential that it's got to really boost our economy," he said.
"One of the things that really impressed me is that they came to us and said 'what do you want?' No one else has ever done that. For a small country town to get an offer like this, that's incredible."
Page Labor candidate Janelle Saffin said she had been asking councils in the seat, including Richmond Valley, what they wanted from a Federal government.
"Councils in rapidly-growing areas like the Richmond Valley need Federal funds to help with growing infrastructure needs," Ms Saffin said.