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Friday, April 23, 2021

Local showgrounds receive stimulus funding

Four Upper Hunter showgrounds will receive more than $679,000 in funding thanks to the NSW Government’s COVID-19 stimulus program.

Venues at Stroud, Merriwa, Muswellbrook and Gloucester are expected to undergo upgrades to improve their facilities and infrastructure while supporting local work.

Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen congratulated the successful applicants.

“Our local showgrounds are multi-use community hubs,” he said.

“So, it’s terrific to see this further investment in infrastructure upgrades to keep them safe and functional for future generations.

“Showgrounds provide facilities for agricultural shows and community groups with many also serving as relief centres during bushfires and floods to provide shelter for residents and animals and a base for emergency services.”

Stroud Showground will benefit to the tune of $275,000, to construct a new amenities block including male and female change rooms; while $213,367 is headed towards the Merriwa Showground to build new campdraft yards to improve safety and erect a three-bay drive through shed with six roller doors.

The Muswellbrook Showground will use $150,415 to upgrade its stables, including installation of a new roof.

A further $40,485 is going towards Gloucester Showground to upgrade about 200m of access road from the front entry to the dairy shed with a two-coat bitumen seal and gravel resurface another access road.

The committee will install portable fence panels and gates in the dairy shed for public safety and animal control, too, and replace the gatekeeper’s booth which has been damaged by white ants.

Mr Johnsen said the COVID-19 showground stimulus program had now allocated a total of $55.77 million to 795 improvement projects across the state.

Commenting on the funding for Stroud Showground, Mid Coast councillor Karen Hutchinson said it was a bonus for the residents.

“Stroud Showground is the hub of our community and investing in projects such as the new change room facilities allows us to continue rebuilding our showground after the 2015 flood,” she stated.

“The user groups of Stroud Showground work hard to manage and to upgrade the showground.

“This this project will be another huge asset to our user groups and community.”

Mr Johnsen noted the amount of funding that had been rolled-out in NSW.

“We’ve previously provided $35.77 million across the state to support 623 upgrade projects at 187 showgrounds, which have so far supported more than 1,490 jobs, providing work for tradespeople, suppliers and fabricators,” he said.

“Now, with the allocation of this further $20 million we will see an additional 172 upgrade projects at 73 showgrounds to support more improvements and jobs, including in our electorate.

“The projects across our state have been wide-ranging – from rebuilds of grandstands, pavilions, arenas and stables to upgrades of kitchen and amenities blocks, lighting and electrical systems, water and sewerage networks and roads.”

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