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NSW Government announces $250 million boost to help councils deliver new and improved public spaces

BUT IT DOESN'T APPLY TO REGIONAL COUNCILS The Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren, has revealed that Regional and rural NSW councils have been denied access to a $250 million pool used to fund upgrades in public domains, including parklands, town squares and main streets.

The state government fund allows only Sydney councils to apply for up to $5.5 million as an incentive to fast-track job-creating projects.

The NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program forms part of the Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan to protect the health of the community, provide economic and jobs stimulus and deliver a legacy of safe, quality public and open space. Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren (photo) , said rural and regional councils have every reason to feel aggrieved by their exclusion from tapping into the stimulus grant funding. Mr Warren has called on the Berejiklian Government including the Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, to explain why rural and regional NSW councils had been snubbed. The NSW Government states "Under the program, local councils that focus on fast-tracking development assessments and rezonings for projects that deliver much-needed jobs and housing will be eligible for up to $5.5 million each in funding for parklands, town squares and main streets." “Non-Sydney councils often say the government is out of touch with rural and regional NSW – when issues like this arise it’s easy to understand why they feel that way,” Mr Warren said.

“COVID-19 has impacted every community throughout our great state, not just those in Sydney.

Regional and rural NSW have been forced to follow the same restrictions as those in the city, even though their communities have not seen many, if any, transmissions of the virus.

“Many of their vulnerable local economies have become further depressed as a result.

“The government should be encouraging every council to push ahead with projects that create jobs and stimulate the economy.

“I have been to almost every council in rural and regional NSW over the past 12 months and I know every single one of them would jump at the chance for funding like this.

“Many of those councils are doing it tough at the moment and access to a funding pool like this would make an enormous difference to their ability to further support their communities.

“The Berejiklian Government must explain why rural and regional NSW were excluded from applying for this funding, or why they don’t have a similar funding pool of their own.” 

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