The NSW Nationals in Government have announced a $100 million fund to boost regional tourism.

Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said round two of the Regional Growth – Environment and Tourism Fund would cover large scale projects in her electorate.

Mrs Williams said up to $50 million would be available for regionally iconic tourism activation projects that cost in excess of $5 million.

“This time it’s about providing bigger grants to those signature projects that will give us the chance to cement our area’s status as a holiday and tourism hot spot and an all-round fantastic place to live,” Mrs Williams said. “We’ve already seen what the first round can offer with $765,000 matched dollar for dollar by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to enable the upgrade of the 9.2km scenic Coastal Walk in Port Macquarie. I encourage organisations to put forward big picture projects that will help to attract more tourists, create jobs and showcase the impressive natural beauty that our area has to offer.”

Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro said the remaining $50 million would be available for applicants who submitted strong applications but were unsuccessful at the Expression of Interest stage in round one.

“Our regional communities are brimming with great ideas and opportunities, but unfortunately the first time around we just couldn’t fund them all because of the high number of strong applications,” Mr Barilaro said. “We want to reassure those who missed out the first time – specifically during the Expression of Interest phase – if you have a strong, viable case we’re giving you another chance to get your project funded.”

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said $142 million had already been committed to 32 projects from round one right across the State.

“Tourism projects are underway from round one and are set to be huge draw cards for visitors to our rural and regional areas, filling our hotels, cafes, restaurants and boutiques, and putting more tourist dollars in the pockets of local businesses,” Mr Marshall said. “We’re absolutely committed to supporting the growth of our regional tourism sector so that every corner of NSW reaps the benefits.”

The Regional Growth – Environment and Tourism Fund is part of the NSW Government’s commitment to the delivery of infrastructure projects which improve the productivity and competitiveness of the state under Restart NSW. Applications for the fund are now open and close on September 21, 2018. For more information, visit the website.