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Mayor slams funding snub

Friday, 9th September, 2011

By Gayle Hogan 

Mayor Wincen Cuy has called “shameful” a Federal Government decision to reject funding for the city’s planned haulage road.

 No local projects received any of the $150 million awarded to 35 projects across Australia in Round One of the $1 billion Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) this week.

Mayor Cuy said City Council applied for $2 million for the heavy vehicle bypass route and couldn’t understand why the application was denied when the project could have generated 200 jobs.

“I can’t believe the haulage road didn’t warrant funding,” he said.

“To be honest it’s shameful. 

“The economic development drivers behind that is very significant in this region....In a community this size it’s huge.”

Mayor Cuy said the project had private investment with Perilya pledging in kind services and “up to $2 million” and Council looking to spend “in the vicinity of $1.5 million.”

“I’m a realist; not all of the projects were going to get up but I can’t comprehend it. It meets all the criteria.

“I’m completely at a loss to understand why we didn’t get it... sometimes you wonder how these systems work.”

The road could cost up to $8 million and Mayor Cuy said Council would now look at other funding avenues including the State Government and applying for the next round of the RDAF.

Other local applicants included the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Pastoralists Association of West Darling (PAWD).

PAWD President Sue Andrews said it was “very disappointing” their stockyards project did not receive any money.

PAWD applied for $550,000 to build stockyards on a parcel of land next to the Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) on the Adelaide Road.

The city has been without a designated stock holding facility for the better part of a decade and Mrs Andrews said as a makeshift measure stock has been unloaded on properties outside the city, including her own.

“It disrupts your own work schedule and if there are health outbreaks your own stock have to be quarantined. 

“It’s just not enough. Broken Hill should have stockyards.”

The new yards would hold 3,000 sheep and 300 head of cattle at any one time.

Mrs Andrews said the rejection was especially bitter because a shire in Western Australia got $7.42 million towards the cost of constructing new saleyards.

“It’s very disappointing but 94 per cent of the applicants missed out. I just think we’ve got to keep trying.”

Regional Development Australia Far West NSW CEO, Linda Nadge, encouraged local applicants to apply for the second round and to ask why their applications were rejected.

“It’s been a great experience for people in our region to apply for these funds,” she said. “You have to be persistent and optimistic and keep putting in the hard work for it.”

“Round two could be good for this region or maybe round three if there is a round three.It’s really important that people don’t give up.”

All applications were required to meet mandatory criteria, with eligible applications assessed by an independent Advisory Panel. Communities needed to demonstrate a direct and measurable benefit.

The Chairman of the Independent Advisory Panel, Christian Zahra, said panel members considered a great amount of detailed information for each application and worked rigorously to select the best projects.

 

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