Mayors call on State Government for support, after Councils miss out on funding
Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill joined with the Mayor of Inner West Council, Darcy Byrne, at state parliament on Monday (8 February 2021).
Deputy Premier John Barilaro was appearing before the Upper House Inquiry into the allocation of State Government funding in recent rounds of grants to local councils.
Blue Mountains had missed out on a State bushfire grant, in the NSW Local Economic Recovery Fund worth $177 million. Inner West Council had missed out on State Government funding from the Stronger Communities Fund.
In both cases 95 percent of funds went to Liberal and National Party electorates.
Mayor Greenhill said: “Our Council received a call from the State Government, rather informally, asking us if we had shovel-ready programs we could allocate money to if it was available.
“Despite the rather informal approach, our CEO submitted a formal prospectus for over twenty grants for programs across our City ranging from post-bushfire programs, a fire station upgrade and stimulatory projects that would help boost economic activity.
“These submissions were carefully thought-out and would have assisted our community. They were shovel-ready projects.
“We found out we had missed out on funding from this stream, in the media.
“The State Government did respond originally to say they had received our submission, but they never came back with any reason why these projects were not successful. We were certainly never told about additional criteria that we did not meet, even though we persisted in asking for feedback.
“I am calling on the government to reconsider and support our Blue Mountains.
“The second round of funding will come out close to 18 months after the bushfires. It will be too late for many Blue Mountains businesses.”
The two mayors joined together at state parliament to advance arguments about why both local government areas deserve better.
“We are standing together for our communities,” Mayor Greenhill said.
He will take a motion to an extraordinary meeting of Council on 9 February, to express deep disappointment that none of the $177m went to the Blue Mountains and calling on the State Government to rectify that with the next round of funding.
Photo: Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne with Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill.