NSW Government Stronger Country Community funding update for Gloucester projects

The Gloucester Recreation Centre was on the successful list for the first two rounds of NSW Government Stronger Country Community fund.
The Gloucester Recreation Centre was on the successful list for the first two rounds of NSW Government Stronger Country Community fund.

Politicians love a good funding announcement, especially in the lead up to an election.

But what happens in the time between the public announcement and works actually taking place?

Anyone who's ever put together a Government grant application knows how much work is involved; but that's just the first step.

Let's take the 2018 NSW Government Stronger Country Community funding announcement for Gloucester projects made by the member for Upper Hunter, Michael Johnsen for example.

It's now over a year later and construction has yet to begin. The funding projects need to be applied for by council with the idea being that the project is based on community need. In the case of round one funding, MidCoast Council worked with the Gloucester District Sports Committee to get application submitted, however, it wasn't yet a 'shovel ready project', simply something the sporting community wanted to assist with sporting events at the Bert Gallagher Oval.

Since the funding announcement, there's been a lot of work happening in the background to complete all the Government required paperwork secure the physical funding and to figure out how to spend the money for the best community outcome.

According to a council, "following consultation with the Gloucester Sports Committee, the round one funding will be used for lighting only. Future options to fund a fit for purpose canteen are being explored."

In October 2018, Mr Johnsen announced $655,500 to upgrade the grandstand seating and amenities at the same location. This project is a much larger undertaking and at this stage, council has indicated that project will commence after the 2019 footy season.

Grants like this typically come with key dates which indicate when a project must be started and completed by and if isn't met the funding can be pulled. However, there seems to be a fair bit of flexibility between departments to ensure the projects eventually get off the ground.

Application have now opened for round three of the fund, with a few changes. There is an increased focus on youth-project for people aged 12-24, a broader scope of eligible projects including programs as well as local infrastructure, longer application and delivery time frames, and will acceptance of applications from eligible community organisations as well as regional councils.

Applications are open until 5pm on September 27.