Labor is demanding the Government explain why it short-changed mining communities by $24 million, nearly halving the Resources for Regions funding program.
Under Round Seven of the program, only $50 million is available to mining-dependent communities despite a significant underspend during the previous funding round.
Last year, just $26 million was spent in round six. The remaining $24 million was subsequently rolled into the next round and paraded as new funding – when it should have already been spent in mining-dependent communities.
Labor Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Paul Scully said: “This is an almost 50 per cent cut to rural and regional NSW at a time when they can least afford it. Instead of providing strong economic stimulus, the government is ripping $24 million out of communities across the state.
“The missing funds should be helping build local roads, bridges, sporting facilities, pools, community centres and halls and to upgrade the main street.
“Many of these mining-dependent communities will be forced to curtail those projects, putting local jobs at risk because the Government refuses to deliver the money it promised.”
“Mining regions which need an economic boost due to drought, bushfires and COVID-19 have been short-changed by the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government.
“Round Seven of the Resources for Regions program is missing $24 million.
“The Government has drained $24 million in additional funding support from local communities which need a massive funding boost.
“The Deputy Premier talks about supporting regional communities but has failed to put his money where his mouth is,” Mr Scully said.
During Budget Estimates Committee hearings in March, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment officials confirmed the unallocated $24 million on Round 6 Resources for Regions funding “…will go into the next round.” (See attachment page 43).