The Casino Saleyard was among the projects put forward by North Coast councils.
The Casino Saleyard was among the projects put forward by North Coast councils.

Federal Gov ignores North Coast councils in regional funding

NORTH Coast councils have been sent back to the drawing board after failing to secure any funding for local projects under the Federal Government's $1 billion regional infrastructure fund.

Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Kyogle councils applied for a combined $8 million for four projects under the $100 million first round of the National Stronger Regions Fund - but all left empty handed.

In a bid to offset the fallout, Page MP Kevin Hogan said he was urgently working on getting at least one of the projects funded as soon as possible through another government program.

Mr Hogan would not be drawn on which project he was working on but said he was "very optimistic about it".

Mr Hogan added he had given each council "direct access" to departmental and ministerial resources to help their chances in the next round.

Nevertheless, council mayors across the region have been left disappointed.

For Kyogle, the failed $1 million application for funding to seal the road to their major tourism drawcard, Toonumbar Dam, was a double blow, given the council also failed to get a share of the Commonwealth's $300 million bridge renewal program this year.

"Kyogle's certainly making a bit of noise in Canberra about it. We're making our disappointment felt," mayor Danielle Mulholland said.

Cr Mulholland said she had had a face-to-face conversation with Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss about it in Canberra at a conference this week.

Meanwhile, Ballina mayor David Wright said the failure of his council to attract funding for a new marine rescue tower meant hopes to improve safety on the Ballina bar and long-term plans to develop a marina would have to stay on ice.

Part of the funding requirements was projects must generate jobs, and Cr Wright speculated that the selection committee must have "missed" the fact that Ballina could not develop a job-creating marina without a new tower.

The Lismore Regional Gallery was among the projects put forward by North Coast councils.
The Lismore Regional Gallery was among the projects put forward by North Coast councils.

Cr Wright said he promised as mayor back in 1999 the marine rescue tower would be rebuilt, and since then volunteers had raised more than $100,000 for it.

"I'm terribly disappointed but we're going to try again," he said.

Lismore City Council will also reapply for a grant for its proposed new regional gallery.

Lismore will also apply for $7 million toward an estimated $20 million upgrade of the South Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant this year, while Ballina will add an application for $4 million toward a new road to the Ballina-Byron Gateway Airport.

Richmond Valley Council will be forced to go ahead with a stop-start rollout of improvements to the saleyards if it doesn't receive funding from the Commonwealth.

 

AT A GLANCE

WHAT GOT FUNDING:

  • Craigieburn Water Park, Victoria: $9 million. 50m pool, slides and water play, gym, warm water pool, steam and spa, plus synthetic athletics track and new pavilion.
  • Upgrade of Bendigo Airport, Victoria: $5 million. A new runway to suit aircraft carrying up to 70 passengers.
  • Construction of an Underground Physics Laboratory in Stawell, Victoria: $1.75 million. A "10-year vision" for the creation of a world- class underground physics laboratory.
  • Construction of access to the SA Motorsport Park, South Australia: $7.5 million. Roadworks to prepare a site for the SA Motorsport Park at Tailem Bend.
  • The Grampians Peaks Trail Project, Victoria: $10 million. Construct a 144km, multi-day walking trail across the length of the Grampians National Park.

WHAT DIDN'T GET FUNDING:

  • Ballina: Marine Rescue Tower - $1 million of $2.3 million
  • Kyogle: Road to Toonumbar Dam - $1 million of $2 million.
  • Lismore: Regional Gallery - $2.3 million of $4.6 million (revised upwards to $5.8 million)
  • Casino: Saleyards upgrade - $3.5 million of $7 million.


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