New England community groups and local government organisations are missing out on accessing support from $4 billion in regional funding, according to federal MP Barnaby Joyce.
The Member for New England said the Albanese Labor Government are failing to deliver promised community programs. The accusation comes after it was revealed in Senate Estimates that the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts had no record of a Labor commitment before the election to establish more crisis accommodation for 52 families escaping domestic violence, and the project has not been funded in the the Investing in Our Communities or Priority Community Infrastructure Program. The $580,000 program, as well as an Urgent Care clinic in
“Many important local projects in the region have either missed out on funding or have been delayed under the Federal Labor Government.”
“Incredibly, but not surprisingly, Labor is even breaking its own promises in the New England Electorate,” Mr Joyce said.
“The Department recently answered that it has no record of any commitments to crisis accommodation projects being delivered by the Department in the local government areas within the New England region.” Mr Joyce said.
“This clearly shows you can’t trust anything promised by Labor, particularly in regional communities,” he said.
“Also of major concern is that funding committed by the former Coalition Government for many critically important local projects in the New England has been axed under Labor.”
“Examples include $15m for the proposed AgVet Chemical and Technology Innovation Centre of Excellence at the Armidale UNE Campus, $4.2m for the Guyra Early Learning Centre and $600,000 for the Armidale Rams Rugby League Club for its urgently needed amenities upgrade,” said Mr Joyce.
Mr Joyce says that when Labor decided to cancel Round 6 of the Building Better Regions Fund, every project that was being considered under this initiative had to go back to the drawing board and reapply for alternative funding.
Local projects being considered under this program included the proposed Oxley Skywalk in East Tamworth, the Tamworth Regional Lagoon project, the redevelopment of Alblas Lodge in Tamworth, the Inverell Aquatic Centre Replacement, the refit of the old Centrelink building to establish the Armidale Community Services Hub, the Australian Transport Museum in Armidale and the New England Regional Art Museum’s new Howard Hinton permanent display and event program as part of NERAM’s 40th Anniversary events in 2023.
“Let’s not also forget that under Labor, the Dungowan Dam project has been kicked down the road into the long grass of the never never, while Tamworth’s water security is a problem that needs fixing now,” Mr Joyce said.
“It is past time the Albanese Government got its act together and released funding guidelines and timelines, enabling our councils and community organisations to start planning to deliver outcomes for the local communities who are in desperate need.”
“Our communities deserve their fair share,” Mr Joyce said.