Barilaro briefs Western NSW councils on $1.3 billion fund

Ross Earl, General Manager of Bourke Shire Council, writes on Far West issues.

Deputy Premier and Regional NSW Minister John Barilaro met representatives of Barwon electorate local councils and Regional Development Australia during a two-day visit to Bourke this week.

He was accompanied by Barwon MP Kevin Humphries on a visit aimed at providing councils with more information on the Regional Growth Fund, which will see $1.3 billion allocated to councils in regional NSW.

There are several individual programs in the funding package and the council sees the opportunity to access funding for shire projects.

The amount of money being made available seems to be unprecedented and is, at least in part, due to the lease of the electricity “poles and wires”.

Bourke shire hosted a dinner for the pair on Tuesday night which was attended by shire councillors and staff and representatives of the Bourke community who earlier travelled to Sydney to meet Mr Barilaro on the proposed Bourke Aboriginal Employment Prosperity Strategy.

Mr Barilaro was also given the opportunity to review progress being made on the construction of the new abattoir complex north of Bourke.

Council representatives also met Early Childhood and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Sarah Mitchell to touch on a range of issues within her portfolio.

Archibald. Bourke’s Regional Sport and Recreation Manager Mark Horton is also a very accomplished artist and was a finalist in the 2016 Archibald Prize.

His portrait of then Deputy Premier Troy Grant saw him achieve this distinguished status and it is an excellent portrait.

The Dubbo Regional Gallery, part of the Western Plains Cultural Centre, has been fortunate enough to attract an exhibition of all the 2016 Archibald Prize finalists. The opening was last Friday night. Annette and I were in Dubbo and attended.

The quality of the paintings was excellent as you would expect and to be among the finalists is certainly an achievement. The exhibition will be in Dubbo for the next few weeks and I would encourage anyone who is able to take the opportunity to visit the gallery to do so.