New­cas­tle and Wol­lon­gong are not re­gional cen­tres

Dubbo Photo News - - Council Watch -

DRC Mayor Ben Shields told a Par­lia­men­tary en­quiry that New­cas­tle and Wol­lon­gong should not be classed as “re­gional” when dish­ing out fund­ing de­signed for re­gions.

On Tues­day, March 27, Shields and coun­cil’s CEO Michael Mcma­hon gave ev­i­dence at the par­lia­men­tary en­quiry into Re­gional De­vel­op­ment and a Global Syd­ney at State Par­lia­ment House.

“I wanted to place on record that re­cent at­tempts by var­i­ous peo­ple to ar­gue that Wol­lon­gong and New­cas­tle and its sur­rounds is ‘re­gional’ is not ac­cepted by peo­ple liv­ing in the ac­tual re­gions.

“It’s a bit rich for MPS and oth­ers to start re­defin­ing what we all know as ‘re­gional’ just weeks af­ter it was an­nounced that the $4.2 bil­lion Snowy Hy­dro pro­ceeds were promised ex­clu­sively to ‘Re­gional’ NSW.

“But blame can be shared with the State be­cause of the ob­scure and in­con­sis­tent ways they iden­tify and de­fine ‘re­gions’.

“New­cas­tle and Wol­lon­gong are both clas­si­fied dif­fer­ently by the state and fed­eral gov­ern­ments. On one hand, the state says they are ‘re­gional’ when deal­ing with coun­cil merg­ers. Then on the other hand, for some pro­grams the state clas­si­fies them as ‘metro’ when ar­rang­ing sports in­fra­struc­ture fund­ing. Th­ese ex­am­ples are just some of many in­con­sis­ten­cies.

“Over the years, var­i­ous def­i­ni­tions have caused con­fu­sion which has given rise to du­bi­ous claims like Wol­lon­gong and New­cas­tle should be in a re­gional cat­e­gory when it comes to fund­ing,” Cr Shields said.

“I was pretty an­noyed when I heard MPS based in the Wol­lon­gong area ar­gu­ing they were ‘re­gional’ when they are clearly not. So, I urged the par­lia­men­tary en­quiry to set a con­sis­tent stan­dard in ge­o­graph­i­cal def­i­ni­tions so ev­ery­one knows ex­actly where the fund­ing goal posts are.

“I was also keen to make a point to the en­quiry that if we are fair dinkum about the var­i­ous fund­ing al­lo­ca­tions based on ter­mi­nol­ogy of geo­graphic def­i­ni­tions, we need a con­sis­tent se­ries of clas­si­fi­ca­tions that are not just ‘metro’ and ‘re­gional’.

“Take for ex­am­ple the seven in­land Evo-cities of Dubbo, Al­bury, Ar­mi­dale, Bathurst, Orange, Tam­worth and Wagga Wagga. All of th­ese large, re­gional cen­tres have vastly dif­fer­ent needs and as­pi­ra­tions to smaller towns in the state. It’s pretty ob­vi­ous to me that they need a clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tem that in­cor­po­rates the var­i­ous types of re­gions.

“The state shouldn’t let con­fu­sion and ill-de­fined cat­e­gories de­ter­mine un­prece­dented fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the bush,” Mayor Shields said.

Aban­doned ANZ Sta­dium plan is wel­comed by LGAS

LO­CAL Gov­ern­ment NSW (LGNSW) pres­i­dent Linda Scott has wel­comed the NSW Gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment to aban­don the re­build­ing of ANZ Sta­dium in Syd­ney, lis­ten­ing to calls from NSW coun­cils and sav­ing $500m in in­fra­struc­ture fund­ing.

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