Meeting Minns

NSW Premier Chris Minns was in Broken Hill on Wednesday, continuing a tour across western parts of the state where he’s been attending Regional Community Development Roundtables alongside civic leaders, business owners, and community groups.

With Minister for Regional NSW and Western NSW Tara Moriarty and Barwon MP Roy Butler also in attendance, the purpose of the roundtable forms a way for the state government to learn and understand the concerns of rural, regional, and remote areas. It also acts to assess opportunities that may become available via the newly set-up $350 million Regional Development Trust Fund.

Despite the Trust replacing the Resources for Regions program which was scrapped in this year’s state budget and injected $14.9 million into Broken Hill’s infrastructure projects since 2012 including for the Airport, the City Library, and the Civic Centre, Mr Minns assured locals any project that was announced by the previous government would be honoured in addition to the new Fund.

“The Minister and I want to do this right; have an independent board, make sure this Trust has the confidence of civic leaders right throughout regional NSW, so that they know when these funds are committed, the funds are committed in good faith, in consultation with local communities, and when they’re spent, they’re spent to the benefit of regional towns and cities,” Mr Minns said.

“These discussions are important so that we can have trust from local communities as to how we spend this Trust’s funds. I think it’s a worthwhile visit. It’s worthwhile to listen to the local community. We’re doing more listening than we are talking, and that’s exactly what we should be doing in the first year of this Parliament and the first year of this new government.

“This is just one part of the jigsaw puzzle of funds that are being directed directly to regional NSW. It’s not charity, and it should never be considered as anything other than what regional communities should expect from the state government. We want that good faith to be part and parcel of the government’s interaction with regional NSW. That’s one of the reasons why, when Parliament is not sitting, we head to the regions.”

Ms Moriarty said nothing beat getting into regional parts of the state to listen, engage, and work with communities in western NSW, of which the roundtable would help to know where the need for investment lies.

“Gone are the days where I’ll come to town as the Minister and the government will come to town and tell these communities how we should be interacting with them. It is very much the opposite. We want to hear from communities like Broken Hill about the support that they need from the state government,” she said.

“We’ve been doing these roundtables across regional NSW to get feedback on how to spend the Regional Development Trust funds. We’re taking the politics out of this. Regional NSW deserves a lot better than what it’s had for the last 12 years, and we’re here to listen to how we can support this community.”

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