The Australian government is funding millions to ten councils in New England, says Barnaby Joyce

The Federal Government has allocated more than $23.6 million to ten councils across the New England Electorate to help them deliver vital services and infrastructure for their communities, Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said today.

The funding is provided under the Financial Assistance Grants scheme to councils including Armidale Regional, Glen Innes Severn Shire, Gwydir Shire, Inverell Shire, Liverpool Plains Shire, Tamworth Regional, Tenterfield Shire, Upper Hunter Shire, Uralla Shire and Walcha Shire councils for projects such as fixing roads, funding new infrastructure and investing in environmental programs.

The Financial Assistance Grants scheme provides funding in two parts – the first is open for councils to use the funding on local priorities and the second is specifically for roads. Mr Joyce said the initiative gives councils the freedom to fund projects the community needs the most.

“The council can spend the grant money how, when and on what they choose, including infrastructure renewal and maintenance of local roads and bridges,” Mr Joyce said. “I want to thank Senator Fiona Nash for restoring the estimated 3.4 percent indexation, which will provide an additional $24 million to our state’s councils.”

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the NSW Government would administer the funding to councils and added the funding will benefit a range of projects earmarked for local communities. “Our local councils have projects on the books that they can roll with straight away, which is why it is important for them to receive this funding now.

“Investment in local infrastructure, including roads and bridges, creates jobs which is why we must continue to provide funding to assist councils to get on with the job.” Federal Local Government Minister Senator Fiona Nash said the early distribution was part of a suite of measures aimed at benefitting regional Australia. “This allows councils to start projects early, or earn interest on this money, or it may help them put up their contribution for grants applications for projects in their area,” Minister Nash said.