NSW Shadow Minister for Sport, Lynda Voltz was today joined by Labor Candidate for Bega, Leanne Atkinson, in calling for Andrew Constance to come clean on the funding for Batemans Bay Aquatic and Cultural Centre.
Despite announcing on the 26th March 2018 that “the NSW Government would provide $26 million for a new indoor aquatic and cultural centre in Batemans Bay” the Leader of the Government in the Upper House, Don Harwin, has now revealed that this money has not been approved and is still subject to an application process.
In response to a question without notice from the Opposition, Mr Harwin said that
“DPC was working with the Eurobodalla Shire Council on the announcement made in March and applying for Regional Cultural Fund could form part of those funds”
Ms Atkinson said this will come as a big shock to the local community given who heard the commitment given by the Member for Bega in March and perhaps assumed the money has already been approved and would have been in the recently announced budget.
“It is a pity the local member, Andrew Constance, mislead the local community when he announced $18 million for the Aquatic Centre, and $8 million for the arts and cultural facilities though the Regional Growth Fund”, Ms Atkinson said. “Now we find out it is subject to a grant application process and will be considered alongside other projects around the state with no guarantee of success”.
Ms Voltz said “It is also a concern for other regions who have applied for their own projects through this fund to now find out that a significant proportion has already been promised before the grants process is under way. Given the expense community groups and local councils go to make these applications, the Member for Bega should have come clean from the start on whether the funds had been approved or whether they were still subject to a bid process through government”.
Ms Voltz also pointed out that the Regional Sports Fund within the Regional Growth Fund had a grant ceiling of $10 million and the local member needs to answer questions as to whether the $18 million he has been promised will meet the guidelines laid down by the NSW Government.
More Information at: https://www.nsw.gov.au/improving-nsw/regional-nsw/regional-growth-fund/
Below: NSW Government media release: $26M for new aquatic and cultural centre in Batemans Bay
Monday 26 March 2018 ************************************************************************************
Media release issued by the offices of Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of NSW and Andrew Constance, Member for Bega.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Member for Bega Andrew Constance today announced the NSW Government would provide $26 million for a new indoor aquatic and cultural centre in Batemans Bay.
Ms Berejiklian said the new aquatic facility will house four new pools including a new indoor heated pool, an indoor warm water program pool, a free form indoor leisure pool with interactive water features, a heated indoor learn to swim pool, as well as a gym, wellness area, waterslides and amenities.
The cultural facility, on the same site, will include a purpose-built exhibition and performance centre, as well as workshop and storage space that will serve the region’s 18 art, dance and theatre groups.
“We all know how important sporting and cultural facilities are to regional communities and this facility is set to become a centrepiece of the Batemans Bay community,” Ms Berejiklian said. “It will be state-of-the-art, and will provide a place where community members can come together, be active, and take part in activities that enrich their lives.
“The many arts and theatre groups in the region will now have a new and impressive home for the 800 events they host between them every year, including regional arts festivals and prizes.”
The $26 million in funding includes $18 million for the aquatic centre, and $8 million for the arts and cultural facilities. The funding will come from the NSW Government’s $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund.
Mr Constance said the announcement was great news for the local community.
“This is a massive investment in the lifestyles and wellbeing of people in Eurobodalla,” Mr Constance said.
“The existing pool was built in 1966, so it’s high-time Batemans Bay got an aquatic centre that’s modern and meets the needs of the community.
“Extensive community consultation has shown there is incredible public support for this project, so it’s pleasing, as the local member, to deliver it.
“The region is one that swells significantly with visitors during peak holiday seasons, so not only will this facility be a boon for locals, it will also be a huge attraction for the thousands of visitors that make their way to our patch every year,” he said.