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City funding push

Wednesday, 13th April, 2011

By John Casey

Broken Hill is preparing to ramp up its push to secure millions of dollars in federal government funding with a delegation of leading stakeholders meeting with the Minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean, in Canberra on Monday.

The high-level delegation of up to eight people also hoped to meet with members of the new NSW Government during a whirlwind 48-hour push to promote Broken Hill and the region.

"We are stoked to get this chance to meet face-to-face with Minister Crean and it is up to us to make the most of this rare opportunity," Regional Development Australia Far West CEO Linda Nadge said yesterday.

"We will be operating on a very tight time frame and we need to re-enforce that we have the capabilities and the right projects that are worthy of funding.

"Hopefully the government will recognise the huge amount of hard work that has gone on in this region in recent years as we have searched for our own solutions to build a brighter future in this area."

As part of a five-year $1.4 billion funding program, the federal government is committed to allocating $100 million by July.

Along with Mrs Nadge and other RDA representatives, the Broken Hill delegation to meet Mr Crean will include:

  • Sue Andrews, president of the Pastoralists Association of West Darling, who will speak on the establishment of livestock transit yards in the area;
  • Vince Gauci, chairman of the Broken Hill Community Foundation, who will push for changes to the tax laws to help his organisation attract financial supporters;
  • Dr Anne Wakatama, Royal Flying Doctor Service general manager Health Services, who will present on a number of the organisation's programs; and
  • Frank Zaknich, BH City Council general manager.

Construction of Broken Hill's heavy vehicle haulage road would be a priority on the agenda with Council requesting up to $1 million for the project.

The next two stages of the BH Film Studio and precinct plan, along with upgrading infrastructure at the local airport as outlined in the 20-year Airport Master Plan, were Council's other key projects.

"We have prepared summaries on each activity and I'll try and give Mr Crean a general understanding of the projects at the meeting," Mr Zaknich said.

"We already have a range of good partners in the haulage road project such as Perilya and this contact with the Minister can only help."

The BH delegation will go with big ambitions but was under no illusions as to how tough and competitive the funding process would be, according to Mrs Nadge.

"I'd like to think that two or maybe three of the projects have high hopes of attracting funds, but I can't say which ones they are," a cautiously optimistic Mrs Nadge said.

"I wouldn't rule out the prospect of them all getting up depending on the scope of the competition ... there are a lot of different scenarios to consider.

"But I do know that our region has a great story to tell and we need to promote that as best we can."

The Canberra delegates won't only be pushing for funds, with Mrs Nadge indicating that an invitation would also be issued to Minister Crean to visit the region.

"The RDA recently invited Murray Darling Basin Authority chairman Craig Knowles to the area and we saw what a success his visit to the Menindee Lakes and Broken Hill was," Mrs Nadge said.

"There are so many different ways to influence governments you can not afford to limit your approach.

"While we will be hungry for results I don't feel any pressure to achieve them because it is a consistent approach, keeping our profile up with the people that matter and persuading their opinions is all we can do."

More information on the government's Regional Development Australia Fund can be found at the website: regional.gov.au.

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