Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has announced almost $6 million in funding to help the newly-merged Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council not only survive but thrive.
Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council faced a budget black hole after the merger with costs exceeding funding from the Government. But as with her recent funding boost for Hilltops Council, Ms Cooke has delivered $1.9 million for Cootamundra-Gundagai.
Ms Cooke said the merger of the Councils was a situation which she had inherited, but her support had always been with the Council which had faced the challenge of a geographically-diverse merger.
“I am so proud to announce that the NSW Government has listened to Local Government and we’ve responded by meeting the transitional costs identified by the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council,” Ms Cooke said. “In making this announcement I would like to thank Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council for their patience, collaboration and their willingness to embrace this new model and make the most of the opportunities it presents.”
More than $1.9 million had been committed to finance administrative costs such as the development of unified Strategic Plans for tourism, the environment and economic development as well as harmonising accounting systems.
However, not only did Ms Cooke announce the amalgamation funding, she also announced $3.88 million in funding for 23 community projects in the Cootamundra-Gundagai region, including more than $1.3 million for the Cootamundra Country Club, promised during the by-election, and more than $500,000 towards the vital expansion of the Gundagai Preschool.
“Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council has done a terrific job since its creation in May 2016 to ensure it is in the best possible position to deliver for its community,” Ms Cooke said. “This funding injection is in recognition of this strong performance and the ongoing work it needs to carry out to ensure it delivers quality infrastructure and services to residents.”
The $3.88 million funding package includes:
- $1.35 million for the Cootamundra Country Club to complete upgrades to the precinct including dam, machinery shed, course and building façade
- More than $500,000 for capital works projects to expand Gundagai Preschool
- $60,000 for general repairs and installation of heating and cooling at Ellwood Hall (Stockinbingal)
- $200,000 for relining and installing a new kitchen at the Coolac Hall, and the installation of cricket nets, picket fence, irrigation and seating at the Oval
- $130,000 to upgrade the tennis courts and install a community BBQ at Adjungbilly Hall
- More than $50,000 for Cootamundra Harness Racing to undertake track maintenance and upgrades
- $100,000 for the Cootamundra Mens Shed to relocate to Depot 2 on Hovell Street
- $450,000 for four new netball courts at Cootamundra
- $200,000 for the Mill Centre Interactive Tourist Attraction
- $40,000 for a river water pump to Gundagai Sportsfields
- $150,000 for new lighting at the Gundagai Sportsground
- $30,000 toward community facilities, multipurpose courts and BBQ area at Tumblong
- More than $20,000 for the installation of permanent storage sheds to support the Battle of the Bidgee event
- More than $50,000 to install solar panels and help reduce costs at the Cootamundra Nursing Home
- $60,000 for a sensory garden at Gundagai South Public School
- $75,100 to install soft fall at the playground at Gundagai Public School
- $10,000 for a new PA system for Gundagai Junior Rugby League
- $30,000 for a disabled toilet at Town & Country Inc
- $50,000 to develop the Gundagai Main Street History walk
- $25,000 for the Gundagai RSL towards landscaping Anzac Grove Gundagai RSL
- $130,000 for basketball courts, new amenities at the Yarri Park Youth precinct/Lions Park
- $150,000 for Cootamundra Rugby Union Club for new dressing room facilities and club room
- More than $3,000 to install a disabled access ramp at the Cootamundra Arts Centre
“This is about people, the tireless volunteers and community groups from Gundagai and Cootamundra who together make up this thriving local government area,” Ms Cooke said. “Without this opportunity many of these projects would have struggled to get funding. This announcement signifies that the amalgamation is not at the cost of these communities or ratepayers, and can in fact deliver wonderful outcomes. I would like to thank Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton for this funding package including meeting the Council’s request for additional funds towards the cost of amalgamation.”
Ms Upton said the funding was in addition to the $15 million the NSW Government provided to the Council when it was created in May 2016 towards upfront administration costs and to kick-start delivery of community infrastructure. She said the NSW Government was committed to supporting Councils in regional NSW to support their communities.
“Regional Councils do a fantastic job in the face of unique and ongoing challenges and the NSW Government is proud to continue to support Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council to help it deliver for the local community,” Ms Upton said.