The NSW Nationals in Government are investing $9 million to improve regional courthouses to help boost local economies during the pandemic.

Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro said the package included improvements to 63 regional courthouses, with upgrades to fire safety and security, as well as structural repairs and general maintenance.

“The NSW Nationals in Government have prioritised projects that can begin immediately, to help communities rebuild after the impacts of COVID-19, bushres and drought. These projects will focus on awarding construction work to small-to-medium sized businesses and prioritise local builders where possible,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Local tradies will begin working on courthouses across the state from Bega to Broken Hill and Wagga Wagga to Wilcannia to deliver the upgrades efficiently and effectively.

“Accelerating renovations is part of a huge recovery effort to kick start the economy, create jobs, support local businesses and help regional NSW get back on its feet.”

The courthouse projects are part of $10 billion in NSW Government support measures to underpin the state’s recovery from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $9 million funding forms part of more than $100 million for regional stimulus announced last month.

Most of the projects will begin this month and be completed this year, as courts have fewer sittings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These investments will put courts in the best possible position to address the busy period ahead when normal sittings resume.

Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis welcomed $140,000 to upgrade the historic court house in Casino.

“The money will be used for re safety and other security improvements,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“One thing we learned from the bushres is that you can’t be too safe with fire prevention, which is why it is important to ensure alarms are in line with modern safety standards.”

Bathurst Nationals MP Paul Toole said the stimulus projects would boost local economies in his electorate that had been hit hard by COVID-19, bushres and drought.

“The NSW Nationals in Government are accelerating tender and planning approval processes and is committed to prioritising local companies and suppliers where possible,” Mr Toole said.

“It means tradies will be on the tools in record time, creating vital job opportunities for locals who need our support more than ever during this tough economic period.”

The upgrades in the Bathurst Electorate will deliver improvements to both Bathurst Court House and Lithgow Court House. Mr Toole said this included $73,000 for general maintenance at Bathurst Court House and $40,000 for fire safety upgrades at Lithgow Court House.

Other projects include $160,000 for the Singleton Courthouse, $150,000 for Coffs Harbour Courthouse, and $60,000 to improve fire compliance at the Dubbo Courthouse.