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Upper Hunter MP urges Labor to support vital community program

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Upper Hunter MP Dave Layzell fears for the future of vital projects throughout NSW if Labor cuts a valuable regional initiative.

His concerns arose after the government refused to reject scrapping the hugely-successful Stronger Country Communities Fund (SCCF).

He believes the stance could place several ventures in countless LGAs under threat.

Mr Layzell is now urging Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty to stand up for rural areas and roll out the $90 million in funding, which had been set aside by the previous government for the next round of the SCCF.

“Every day we’re reminded of the success of this program and how it has made a really meaningful difference to the lives of people living in communities all across the Upper Hunter electorate,” he said.

“In the most recent round alone, this fund contributed $267,767 towards accessible paths at four bus shelters in Muswellbrook, $551,150 for Singleton Council to reconstruct tennis, netball and multi-use courts in Broke, and $202,884 for restoration and storage upgrades at the Scone Historical Society.

“If Premier Chris Minns and Tara Moriarty scrap this program, they are showing contempt for the people of regional NSW and saying that we don’t deserve the same kind of amenities that those in the city take for granted.”

The Liberals and Nationals funded more than 100 projects over the five rounds of SCCF delivering in excess of $27 million to the Upper Hunter.

Those endeavours to benefit included:

  • Muswellbrook Aquatic Centre – $1,000,000
  • Construction of Denman Netball Courts – $206,286
  • Arts Upper Hunter Muswellbrook Shire Liddell WORKS Arts Program – $153,544
  • John Tucker Park Paterson – $690,000
  • Dungog Showground – $441,000
  • Gloucester Showground Amenities – $338,855
  • Upgrade Gloucester Grandstand – $668,239
  • Singleton PCYC Friday Afternoon Fun and Friday Afternoon Fun Disability Sport and Support Program – $265,486
  • Create Branxton Public Square – $279,973
  • Singleton High School Marra Talpa Fitness Centre – $62,660.

NSW Nationals leader and Shadow Minister for Regional NSW Dugald Saunders said the SCCF was an important program.

“It was established by the former Coalition government in 2017 and saw $660 million invested into more than 2,500 projects across the bush,” he explained.

“It’s been vital for regional communities.

“We know in some cases there are projects that simply wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the funding the former Coalition government invested into this program.

“If Labor walks away from the SCCF, it’s letting down every regional community in NSW.”

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