Member for Barwon, Roy Butler, has affirmed Barwon remains well funded after NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey handed down the state budget yesterday, with commitments from the previous state government honoured.
Though Mr Butler says attempts have been made to find savings where possible without damaging services, he understands it has been a challenge for the state government and reiterates he will maintain his focus and attention on the ensuring Barwon is well serviced still.
Of the budgetary decisions relating to funding in the region, the biggest will see the ‘Resources for Regions’ program abolished. It’s a decision that the state member says, “will directly affect the quality of life of all people living in the 26 local government areas previously eligible for program funding”.
Mr Butler adds the funds still exist, with a review process will take place over the next four months will need “to recognise that Councils with mining experience impacts that need additional financial support”.
Regional delivery structures will remain intact with the additions of the newly funded Regional Development Trust Fund ($350 million) and the new Working Regions Fund (($250 million) to oversee regional grants.
“These new structures will replace many of the current funding programs of vital importance to people in our regions. The funding decisions of the Trust will be guided by the newly established Regional Development Advisory Council,” Mr Butler says.
As well, the $280 million commitment to the Regional and Local Roads Repair Program has been increased to $390 million under the new Regional Emergency Road Repair Fund.
“I will be working with local councils and the Advisory Council to ensure the grants process is streamlined from application through to the release of funds, has greater oversight, is consistent with local needs and is distributed equitably,” Mr Butler said.
“Part of that process will be to reintroduce a fund for mine impacted Local Government areas and ensuring these communities are recognised in any future funding processes.”