NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro. Picture: AAP Image/Dan HimbrechtsThey told me I wouldn’t be able to spend $1.6 billion in regional NSW in just two years.
Well take a look around your country town, and you just might find something shiny and new –because we have just clocked over 1000 grass roots infrastructure projects across regional NSW since July last year.
New playgrounds, sports fields and community halls are springing up in regional towns and cities across the state, boosting liveability and pride and ensuring communities receive vital funding needed during this time of devastating drought.
To say we have reached this milestone is incredible, but what’s even more exciting is to be able to see the work happening all around us, from country to coast.
The 1000th project was announced in Cootamundra this week in the form of an upgrade to the Cootamundra Squash Courts, with almost $100,000 in funding to install insulation, air conditioning, new lights, a solar power system and new carpet.
These are the projects that I love to talk about.
Driven by community feedback, at a local level, to benefit the people who use these facilities every single day.
From re-turfed footy fields, to liberty swings to make playgrounds wheelchair friendly, these are projects that make our communities much happier, healthier places to live, enhancing the connectedness we feel to each other and the places we call home.
1000 projects across NSW.
For every ball hit this week at the squash courts in Cootamundra, that’s a local upgrade or a new build, bouncing off the paper and onto the pavement.
Yet another reason regional NSW is the first choice to live, raise a family, study, build a business or visit.
The hundreds of days and nights I spend on the road, in and out of regional towns, I can honestly say, are worth it, when we see outcomes like this.
Which is more than I can say for the new Opposition Leader, who only refers to the ‘suburbs’ or references ‘other parts of the state’, clearly stuck in the suburbs, having never experienced the beauty, lifestyle, hardships and complexities of our regional towns.
The Regional Growth Fund, announced in the 2017-18 Budget, was a commitment I made, to give people in regional NSW their fair share.
We received a huge outpouring of requests for this kind of quality community infrastructure in the regions and here we are now, delivering on that commitment.
I want the people of regional NSW to know, this is your time.
As you see these projects coming to life around you, know that we did the hard yards together, and now it is your time to enjoy the benefits.
It is your time to watch your children play in a state-of-the-art sporting facility.
It is your time to meet with your community in a safe and upgraded community hall.
It is your time to enjoy your brand new bike track around your local park.
These are foundation projects for our great regional communities, and just the beginning on our way to building a stronger and more confident future for regional NSW, together.