State budget delivers regional relocation incentive

Goulburn MP Pru Goward.

Goulburn MP Pru Goward.

A $1 billion regional growth fund in Tuesday’s State budget will help entice businesses to relocate to regions like Goulburn.

The fund also provides $100 million over four years for building and upgrading arts and cultural facilities.

MP Pru Goward says both offer prime opportunities for Goulburn to capture growth opportunities stemming from western Sydney and to bolster money for its performing arts centre.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet handed down the budget on Tuesday, projecting a $2.7bn surplus in 2017/18.

Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Bob Kirk and council general manager Warwick Bennett have been lobbying the State Government for an incentive scheme to lure businesses from within NSW to the regions. It followed Ticket Masters Australia’s decision not to establish in Goulburn, but to take its 400 jobs to Victoria where the government offered incentives. 

Ms Goward said the $1 billion regional growth fund, open from July 1, would offer ‘carrots’ for businesses to relocate to the regions. 

“It’s the sort of thing that could have helped with Ticket Masters,” Ms Goward said.

However the government is still considering a regional jobs relocation incentive program for businesses within NSW. An announcement is expected soon.

But she said Regional Development Minister John Barilaro had listed to Goulburn Mulwaree’s concerns.

“He is very big on regional development. We live in the most significant growth area in NSW and he recognises that,” she said.

“Goulburn Mulwaree was not the only council that lobbied but it certainly helped confirm in Mr Barilaro’s mind the need for incentives.

Similarly, Ms Goward hoped the council would qualify for “at least $1m” under the newly announced Regional Cultural Fund for its proposed performing arts facility.

She has been liaising with the council about its application and the need for a “more robust” business case.

Goulburn Mulwaree is also applying to another State Government fund for the project and hopes to take advantage of low-interest loans, having achieved ‘fit for the future’ status. ​

Goulburn will also receive $10.2m in 2017/18 for the Base Hospital’s redevelopment, with the remaining $110m to follow over the ensuing three years as construction ramps up.  

There’s also $5m to demolish the Lansdowne Bridge in preparation for its replacement.

Further, Goulburn’s TAFE campus will share in $3.5m for IT infrastructure. Valmar Community Transport’s budget has increased to $400,000 this year.

The budget confirms $47m for the city’s previously announced new Supermax unit and a share of $122m for the ambulance station upgrade. 

On the broader front, $1bn has been provided under the Safe and Secure Water program. Ms Goward said towns like Boorowa and Yass could seek funding for water and sewerage projects.

“To assist primary producers to prepare for future drought $75 million for the continuation of concessional loans under the Farm Innovation Fund,” Ms Goward said.

“All this has been made possible after six years of strong expenses discipline and the recycling of assets.

“We have recycled assets into new assets- and as a result are the only state to be approaching a net worth of a quarter of a trillion dollars.” 

The Goulburn electorate receives $36.9m, including $2m for social housing. 

Ms Goward said while Goulburn Mulwaree was “perfectly placed” to take advantage of growth opportunities flowing from western Sydney, it needed “a decent transport system.”

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