Monday, 16th February, 2015
By Michael Murphy
The NSW Government yesterday allocated $5 million to a project to revamp the Civic Centre, the first time the Silver City has received funding under the Resources for Regions program.
Since 2011 the NSW Government has committed $217 million to Resources for Regions, including more than $80.1 million in this latest round.
Minister for Western NSW Kevin Humphries, who has been touring the region for the past three days, made the funding announcement at the Civic Centre yesterday afternoon.
Yesterday’s announcement was timed to coincide with another funding announcement in Sydney - $415 million for state tourism, including $40 million for regional tourism.
Mr Humphries said “an expanded Civic Centre” would help the city improve its tourism offering and better capitalise on its status as an arts, cultural and built heritage icon.
“The conference economy is growing and that is why that this project got over the line first,” Mr Humphries said, adding that the money was in the bank, and it was not an election pledge.
“Hopefully this is the first of a number of other projects (for the city) under Resources for Regions.”
The Civic Centre project beat other local entries to the funding pool, including a CBD renewal plan, the redevelopment of the Patton Street precinct, and a project by the Palace Hotel.
Mr Humphries said the funding for the Civic Centre came with a condition.
Council would be asked to further develop a business plan for increasing demand for the expanded centre.
The upgrade is expected to expand the capacity of the existing facility by about 15 per cent.
Mayor Wincen Cuy praised council staff who worked on the funding application.
“This is a culmination of a lot of hard work by council staff and it is an initiative that took seed some time ago.”
Various organisations lobbied to get Broken Hill included into the Resources for Regions program, including the NSW Minerals Council.
Mayor Cuy said it was now up to council to sit down and make further plans to spend the money, including a timeframe.
“We want to modernise it and make it an inspiration for people that when they come to Broken Hill for their conference, that they actually go away and say: ‘Wow that was a great experience’.”