Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (second from right), with Bourke and District Children’s Services President Tanya Jackson, Bourke Shire Council Mayor Barry Hollman and General Manager Leonie Brown and Bourke and District Children’s Services General Manager Prue Ritchie pictured underneath the collapsed roof at the Bourke Childcare Centre. The childcare centre was forced to close its doors in September after the ceiling of the verandah collapsed following a heavy rain event. Bourke and District Children’s Services had applied for nearly $10 million in funding to construct a new childcare centre, under Round 6 of the Building Better Regions Fund.
The new Labor Government is continuing their vendetta against rural and regional Australia with the confirmation it will abolish the former Coalition Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).
The BBRF is a highly popular program which supports projects in rural and regional communities create jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger regional and remote communities into the future.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure Transport and Regional Development, Senator Bridget McKenzie said the Labor Party has confirmed rural and regional communities’ concerns in the lead up to the budget by completely scrapping the BBRF.
“The Labor Government continues to prosecute the mistruth that regional funding projects are a waste when these projects actually deliver social and economic benefits to local communities and our nation as a whole,” Senator McKenzie said.
“It becomes clearer every day to us that creating jobs, driving economic growth and building stronger regional and rural communities into the future is not a priority for the Labor Government.”
Hundreds of regional communities across Australia have benefited from important facilities taken for granted in the cities such as art galleries, museums, sporting precincts, aquatic centres, health facilities, community halls and upgrades to regional water infrastructure.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the BBRF has injected more than $46 million into the Parkes electorate since it was established.
“The BBRF has been a vital funding program for communities throughout the Parkes electorate, helping to fund worthy projects like a kitchen and laundry upgrade for Cooinda Nursing Home in Coonabarabran, a pipeline for Curlewis, oval upgrades in Cobar and Dunedoo, a retirement village in Narromine, an amenities upgrade at the Lake Cargelligo Swimming Pool, and a new purpose-built facility for Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation in Wilcannia,” Mr Coulton said.
“These are just some of the fantastic projects that are making a real difference in our communities, helping to enhance the liveability now and into the future.
“So many of our local councils and community groups have put time, effort and money into applying for funding under Round 6, which they were relying on to complete important projects in their communities.
“A new childcare centre for Bourke, an extension of Macquarie Home Stay in Dubbo and the redevelopment of the popular Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre are just some of the worthy projects in my electorate that will now miss out on funding.
“Not only is this extremely disappointing for these communities, it’s also a waste of time for the applicants and significantly delays the delivery timeline for these much-needed projects.
“Countless organisations in the Parkes electorate will now have to go back to the drawing board to find another suitable program to apply for. I’m hoping that Labor’s two new regional grants schemes will be equivalent replacements of BBRF, but until we know the details, our regional communities are stuck waiting in limbo.”