The State Government has opened up a round of funding for projects driven by community votes.
Earlier in the year, the Government put out a call for applications in each electorate to help improve the wellbeing of people and communities. As part of the current financial year budget, the Government reinvigorated the My Community Dividend program by rolling out My Community Project, which gives the community the opportunity to vote on projects proposed by local residents.
Voting has now opened for projects in the Upper Hunter with three listed for the Gloucester region.
The Gloucester Senior Citizen Hall Upgrades project is looking for $50,066 to cover the cost of floor sanding, replacing carpet, curtains and chairs, internal and external painting and the installation audio/visual system with hearing loop.
Gloucester Public School's Inclusive Stimulating Equipment Fosters Community Engagement project is after $100,000 to modernise its playground equipment to accommodate all community members, particularly people with special needs.
Stroud Rodeo Association's Horse Sports Arena project, costing $200,000. is to build and provide a horse sports arena for all user groups to use instead of the sporting fields.
Voting takes place through the MyServiceNSW website, for residents 16 years and over with a Medicare card. You're asked to vote for between three and five projects, ranking them in order which will determine how many points the project is allocated. Residents without access to a computer can attend Service NSW offices for assistance, however an email address is required to set up an account.
According to the website, the most popular projects will get a share of the $260,000 available for each electorate.
Member for Upper Hunter, Michael Johnsen said this is an innovative and exciting program that is putting decision making back in the hands of community members.
"My Community Project is a great example of real grassroots democracy in action, it asked people to think about things their community needs, develop those ideas with a sponsor and tell us how funding could turn that concept into reality," Mr Johnsen said.
The question, however, is how smaller community projects with lower populations, like Gloucester (around 2,300 residents) and Stroud (around 900) will fare against larger centres like Muswellbrook (around 12000) and Singleton (around 17000).
Acting Treasurer, Damien Tudehope said voting allows communities to rank projects, which means more than one may receive funding.
"In the nomination stage, smaller communities demonstrated strong interest in their local projects and a project idea from a smaller area may actually have stronger community support than projects from a larger town with competing preferences," Mr Tudehope explained.
Voting closes August 15.