Official Media Release

State Matters Column

NEW FUND TO BOOST REGIONAL GROWTH THROUGH INVESTING IN ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM INFRASTRUCTURE
I encourage our local community and government organisations in the Upper Hunter electorate to apply for funding for environment and tourism projects under the NSW Government’s new $300 million Regional Growth – Environment and Tourism Fund.

The fund aims to increase tourist visitation by supporting regional environment and tourism infrastructure projects to help grow and diversify regional economies across the State. This is great news for our region and I strongly encourage our local organisations to pitch for the funding.

Expressions of interest are now open for the initial round of the Fund – at least $100 million is available for regional environment and tourism projects from local and state government agencies; Aboriginal Land Councils and other Aboriginal groups; community groups registered as incorporated associations; and non-government organisations.

We are looking for visionary projects that will transform regional economies which might include new or upgraded visitor infrastructure for national parks; new or upgraded camping facilities; repurposing of Crown Lands or heritage buildings for tourism, and the infrastructure to support new visitor activities and eco-tourism.

The expressions of interest, which close on 6 April 2017, will be independently assessed and shortlisted by Infrastructure NSW with assistance from other NSW agencies.

The Fund is part of the $20 billion Rebuilding NSW initiative, from which the Government has committed $6 billion for regional NSW.

For further information: www.industry.nsw.gov.au/rgetf

NEW SCHEME TO DELIVER CHEAPER GREEN SLIPS IN 2017
NSW motorists are set to benefit from a fairer and more affordable CTP Green Slip Scheme under a proposal announced by the NSW Government.

The changes will address problems with the current CTP scheme such as premium unaffordability, delays in payment of benefits to people injured on NSW roads, and reducing fraudulent and exaggerated claims that are driving up premiums.

State-wide average premiums will drop from $650 to $528. NSW motorists will save around $120 off their Green Slip under the new scheme.

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The changes will not only stop the ongoing increases in average premiums, they will stop insurer super profits and actually reduce the cost of Green Slips for NSW motorists. This will provide a significant household saving to families in the Upper Hunter electorate who often need to insure multiple vehicles every year.

Make no mistake – this is a big win for motorists. The new scheme will deliver fast access to benefits for those who are legitimately injured on our roads; it will reduce the exaggerated claims; it will deliver more of the premium dollar back to the most seriously injured; and it will deliver cheaper Green Slips.

A Bill has been introduced into Parliament and, subject to Parliament’s approval, a new Green Slip scheme is likely to commence in December 2017. Further information is available at www.sira.nsw.gov.au.

NAIDOC WEEK GRANTS TO CELEBRATE ABORIGINAL CULTURE
I encourage local community groups to celebrate Aboriginal culture and apply for NAIDOC Week 2017 grants.

The NSW Government is again offering small grants for grass roots organisations to run local events marking NAIDOC Week, the annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

This is a great opportunity for Upper Hunter electorate groups to get some funding for their NAIDOC Week events. NAIDOC Week is a unique celebration Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and Aboriginal people at all levels of Australian society.

NAIDOC, which stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, is held nationally each year in the first full week of July. This year NAIDOC will run from 2 – 9 July.

This year NSW will become the first state in the nation to introduce legislation to recognise and protect Aboriginal languages, as well as establishing a Centre for Aboriginal Languages of NSW to support community-led revival efforts.

Although traditionally held in the first week of July, some communities conduct NAIDOC activities outside of the designated week due to community conflicts, weather conditions and school holidays.

Grant applications close Thursday 27 April 2017. Not-for-profit community groups are invited to apply for funding in the order of $500 to $1,000. For more significant events, up to $3,000 can be considered, a total of $200,000 is available.

For more information and how to apply, visit the Aboriginal Affairs NSW website at www.aboriginalaffairs.nsw.gov.au.