Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead addressed NSW Parliament on August 3 on the subject of the amalgamated MidCoast Council
He requested the government consider matching loan funding dollar for dollar over the next four years to “help the MidCoast Council build for the future.”
Mr Bromhea said:
The MidCoast Council approached the Government for a special rate variation. It was the only merged council to have a special rate variation that was voted for unanimously, whether National, Liberal, Labor or the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers. There was total support for the special rate variation. The council intends to borrow $50 million as a low-interest loan from the NSW Government through TCorp to address this vital community need. There is nothing more important for a community than that connection, so it is proposed to put that money towards the roads.
Traditionally the local government approach would be to tell the government that it is the government's responsibility to fund the shortfall under one of two models. One is the begging bowl, "Woe is us. Our roads and bridges are falling apart, so give us some money. " The other is, "Our roads and bridges are falling apart and it is the State Government's fault because of rate-pegging and cost-shifting, so give us the money." An alternative approach is that the council applies for grant funding and asks the government to part with it. In this case, rather than asking for a handout, MidCoast Council is asking the government to help it lift itself up by its own bootstraps. It will borrow $50 million, which that special rate variation will pay back. I call on the government to match that dollar for dollar — $50 million from the State Government over four years, which is $12.5 million a year — to turn that into a $100-million roads and bridge package, remembering that the council has more than $180 million in backlog.
I implore the government and the very good Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, to consider matching this dollar for dollar over four years to help the MidCoast Council build for the future. It will help to ensure it is viable and will support a community that is putting up with the council merger. By addressing the roads and bridge backlog we will help the community and the council to be successful. It is a blueprint for success. I implore the government to get on board and partner with the council.