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Community projects across regional NSW are under threat, with the government refusing to commit to the hugely successful Stronger Country Communities Fund (SCCF).

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson has urged the Minister for Regional NSW to retain the $90 million in funding set aside by the previous government for the next round of the program in the September budget.

“I know the massive impact the Stronger Country Communities Fund has had on the everyday lives of people living in our communities,” Mr Anderson said.

“In the most recent round alone, this fund contributed almost $6 million to projects in the Tamworth electorate including the $269,424 West Tamworth Bowling Club surface replacement, $251,442 towards the replacement of a court at Gunnedah PCYC, and $270,000 for upgrades to amenities at Piallamore Recreation reserve.

“Regional communities deserve the kind of amenities those in the city take for granted, and this program has been giving local government and community organisations the funding they need to provide those amenities for a number of years.”

NSW Nationals leader and Shadow Minister for Regional NSW Dugald Saunders said the Stronger Country Communities Fund is an important program that provides the infrastructure required to ensure regional communities thrive.

“This program was established by the former Coalition government in 2017, and since then has seen $660 million invested into more than 2,500 projects across the bush. It has been vitally important for regional communities,” Mr Saunders said.

“We know in some cases there are projects that simply wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the funding the former Coalition government invested into this program. If Labor walks away from the Stronger Country Communities Fund, it’s letting down every regional community in NSW.”

Tamworth Regional Mayor Russell Webb said the Stronger Country Communities Program is one example of the type of funding that helps Council make the region a better place to live and raise a family.

“Various funding streams from the State and Federal governments are used by Council to deliver much-needed facilities, job training and employment to our young people,” Cr Webb said.

“Viaduct Park has been transformed using State and Federal funding and it’s a great outcome for our community well into the future.”

Joblink Plus CEO Christine Shewry said Joblink Plus had been operating the Youth Training Café in Tamworth since it opened 18 months ago and already 43 young locals had received accredited training at the hub.

“The Deck training café offers youth an opportunity to gain not just training, but experience. Very often when somebody completes their training, the employer is looking for a bit of experience and this is it.

“Nearly all of those young locals are now in jobs thanks to the training and the experience they have gained through Joblink Plus and the training café, including more than 20 who have worked at The Deck itself.”

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