Coonamble Shire Council has received approval as a Declared Council under the Australian Government’s new Drought Communities Programme.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss said the Drought Communities Programme has been introduced to generate greater economic stability in regional areas impacted by low rainfalls.
“The Australian Government is providing $35 million over four years to fund local infrastructure initiatives in eligible drought-affected communities to build greater economic resilience for the future,” Mr Truss said.
Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton is very pleased that Coonamble Shire Council is now eligible for much needed funding under this programme.
“The Council is now eligible to receive a total funding amount of $1.5 million under this programme,” Mr Coulton said.
“Council will now submit project proposals to the Government for approval. These proposals will be for projects that relate to economic, social and cultural infrastructure, safety and accessibility upgrades, and/or town facility developments and upgrades.”
Mr Coulton said that these types of projects have the potential to produce major benefits throughout the Coonamble Shire.
“Eligible projects under this programme aim to stimulate local community spending, employment and use of local businesses and suppliers to provide long-lasting benefits to regional communities,” Mr Coulton said.
“Due to the drought, the Coonamble Shire has faced many challenges in these areas for quite some time now and I believe these projects will go some way to turning around the local economy.”
The decision to approve Coonamble Shire Council as a Declared Council is based on an update and extension of rainfall deficiency records provided by the Bureau of Meteorology up to August 2015.
Rainfall data will be reviewed again over the coming months to monitor the funding eligibility of other councils in New South Wales and Queensland for this programme.