It's been four years since Goulburn's The Challenge Foundation lodged a development application for a new facility to house people with disabilities, but last week the project finally received the funding boost it needs to make the plans a reality.
The windfall, to the tune of $2.79 million, came via Round 5 of the Federal Government's Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF), announced on Friday by Federal Member for Hume Angus Taylor.
When Challenge Foundation CEO Margaret O'Neill heard the news, it brought a tear to her eye.
"I cried when Angus Taylor rang me up," said Cr O'Neill.
"Old Marg's a tough bit of bird but not when it comes to the people with disabiltiies."
The facility is pegged for a 6015 square metre site at 20 Marys Mount Road, near the Middle Arm Road intersection.
"We're very pleased after all these years," Cr O'Neill said, adding that the Foundation fisrt applied for this grant in 2017.
"It's the second time we applied for this grant and we weren't successful before because the NDIS changed their requirements."
The Foundation was required to change plans and then re-submit a DA to council. This required changing the plans from a 22-bed set-up to 10 beds, due to NDIS conditions.
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The new facility will offer a fully supported accommodation for ten adults with disabilities, as well as allow for the expansion of services to meet the needs of people with disabilities across the region.
"It will be great for Goulburn," Cr O'Neill said.
"We'll have a whole lot of different services like day programs, holiday programs, transport, consultation rooms for doctors and physios, all the things that are needed, all in house."
She said the response from the families they support had been fantastic.
"It's been very exciting to hear from these people who have been waiting so long," she said.
The Challenge Foundation have owned the land at Mary's Mount since 2016, and while the grant will mean the amount they have to borrow to build will be much reduced, costs had risen significantly since then.
"COVID's knocked us around as building costs have gone up," said Cr O'Neill, saying the previous cost figure of $6.7 million will have to be revised after the tender process.
"But we hope to employ locals - all the time's we've raised money, local tradies have supported us, so this is a way of giving back."
The Challenge Foundation was one of four projects in the Hume electorate to gain funding, and its grant was by far the biggest.
The other Hume projects to receive funding were:
- $487,500 for Endeavour Industries in Goulburn to upgrade their 'Materials Recovery Facility', increasing recycling capabilities.
- $165,380 for Wollondilly Shire Council for the 'Light Up Picton' project, which will see lighting installed along the main street of Picton.
- $250,000 for Goulburn Mulwaree Council for the construction of an ornamental garden and picnic lawn at Goulburn's Shibetsu Japanese Gardens in Victoria Park.
Federal Member for Hume Angus Taylor said the Government's investment is delivering better facilities and economic opportunities for our region.
"We are backing these projects, so local people have the facilities for the future while creating jobs to boost our economic recovery and rebuild from COVID," Mr Taylor said.
"I continue to work closely with my local councils and community groups like the Challenge Foundation to ensure we see good projects get off the ground and investment dollars come our way.
Under Round 5 of the BBRF, the Government has committed almost $300 million to support 295 projects across regional Australia, which will create an estimated 9,900 jobs during the project period.
This latest funding round takes total support through the BBRF to $1.38 billion across nearly 1,300 projects.
For a complete list of successful projects, please visit www.business.gov.au/bbrf.
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