Funding to boost drought-affected Balonne

Media Release

WT338/2015

19 October 2015

Joint release with:

Barnaby Joyce

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources

The Balonne community will receive a much-needed boost through $1.5 million in Australian Government funding for five local projects as part of the $35 million Drought Communities Programme.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the funding will sustain the region during the current drought conditions.

“The Drought Communities Programme is a new initiative of the Australian Government that recognises that along with drought-ravaged farmers, the communities and businesses farmers do business with also suffer,” Mr Truss said.

“By investing in local community projects we are creating real jobs right now, which are an important support to local economic activity and local businesses during these tough times.

“While keeping people employed, the five projects we are announcing today will upgrade local amenities, including kerbing on various local streets, the replacement of the roof at the St George Civic Centre and the upgrade of stables at the St George Showgrounds.

“The Australian Government is providing $35 million in funding over four years, including $20 million in 2015–16 alone, to ensure local communities continue to function as they should despite being drought-affected.”

The projects include:

  • Grey Street, St George Streetscape Beautification—Stage 2;
  • New kerbing and channelling in St George, Dirranbandi and Thallon;
  • St George Civic Centre Roof Replacement;
  • Upgrade of St George Showgrounds Horse Stables; and
  • Grey Street, St George Streetscape Beautification—Stage 3.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce said many local businesses and residents in the Balonne Shire had been impacted by drought in recent years.

“As a former St George local and accountant myself, I remain acutely aware of the impact the drought is having in the region and I know this funding boost will come as a relief.

“These five projects are expected to generate 39 jobs for residents during their construction, an important economic boost for the region,” Mr Joyce said.

“Four of the projects will proceed this financial year, while Stage 3 of the Grey Street project is scheduled to commence later in 2016.

“The Drought Communities Programme has received 23 submissions since the programme commenced, highlighting the importance of the programme to drought affected communities.

“I would encourage the remaining eligible councils to submit their project proposals as soon as possible.”

17 local government areas (LGAs) in drought affected parts of Queensland and New South Wales are currently eligible to apply for projects under the Drought Communities Programme.

More information on the programme can be found at http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/funding/dcp/index.aspx