Construction works to revitalise six Parkes Shire townships are now complete, thanks to a Federal Liberal and Nationals Government investment in boosting the economy in drought-stricken communities.

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said the Australian Government’s $1 million investment had employed local tradespeople, apprentices, specialist tradies and general helpers.

“These projects have provided a vital economic stimulus for our communities during these tough times of drought by providing places to get together, host events, attract tourists and support locals in catching up with community members,” Mr McCormack said.

“The construction projects were identified through strategic planning, drought forum meetings and direct contact with local representatives from each township. Upgrading infrastructure that supports each of these communities is a legacy that will last long beyond this drought and will help build resilient and sustainable rural communities.”

Minister for Drought David Littleproud said the works ranged from upgrades to Cookamidgera’s central hall, the Carrington Hotel’s lower floor at Peak Hill, new toilet blocks for the Alectown Hall, improved irrigation for the Bogan Gate Memorial Park, a new amenities block at Trundle and modern, multi-purpose sports courts at Tullamore.

“The Drought Communities Programme Extension lets local councils choose projects that will deliver the benefits their communities need the most,” Minister Littleproud said.

“These are local solutions, not Canberra solutions.

“Projects like standpipe upgrades will deliver free domestic and stock water for rural residents, building long-term resilience while giving the local economy a boost right now.”

New South Wales Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional New South Wales John Barilaro said the NSW Government appointed a Drought Response Officer (DRO) to support the Drought Communities Program.

“The Drought Response Officer will work with the three tiers of government, non-government agencies and industry stakeholders to assist the community to gain access to government assistance,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The DRO will link programs and activities with community members, giving farming families the best possible opportunity to locate and source the funding, programs and help they need to survive this drought.”

Parkes Shire Mayor Ken Keith thanked the Australian Government for its financial support during this extended dry period, which continues to affect the community.

“The long-lasting benefits of these projects are already being realised, having boosted local employment and procurement, as well as addressing a number of social and community needs,” Cr Keith said.

“Furthermore, having a dedicated Drought Response Officer to assist in the collation and coordination of information and support avenues, as well as providing some hands-on assistance, has been an invaluable asset to drought-affected residents and businesses across the shire.”

The projects were jointly funded with the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government investing $1 million, the NSW Government $200,000 and Parkes Shire Council $52,000.

Media Release issued by the Hon Michael McCormack MP