In July 2019 Council submitted an expression of interest to the NSW Government Growing Local Economies Fund. This independently prepared application provided an overview for the Macleay Valley Recreation Adventure Park.
In August 2019, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack and Federal Minister for Minister of Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mark Coulton visited Kempsey and were briefed about the project.
A further briefing with the Federal Government then took place in October 2019. Both local state and federal MPs were briefed on the project in this period.
In December 2019 Council received formal confirmation that our application to the NSW Government Growing Local Economies Fund had been approved to move to the second stage of the application process which required a Business Case submission.
A detailed business case was then prepared for the Macleay Valley Recreation Adventure Park by Council and formally submitted in February 2020. The Business Case identified the total cost of the project to be $11,131,600. At this stage Council was asking for $10,463,700.
Separate to that application, in December 2019 Council submitted an application under the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund. As this stream of funding required co-contribution, this application was for $7,500,000. The application identified that $2,500,000 would still be sought from the Growing Local Economies fund.
It is common practice for regional councils to seek funding for major projects under a variety of funds.
In May 2020 Council was advised the application under the Building Better Regions Fund had been unsuccessful, as it had not met the co-contribution criteria. Specifically, as the Growing Local Economies component had not been approved at the time of submission Council were found to be ineligible for funding under this stream.
The status of these applications was reported to Council through 2020 through the mechanism of the Quarterly Reports, specifically in the Grant Update which was tabled at the February, May, August and November 2020 Council meetings.
In October 2020 the State and Commonwealth Governments announced the new Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund to provide grants between $200,000 and $20 million for projects such as local infrastructure, tourism campaigns and regional events, workforce adaption and training programs, community wellbeing and mental health programs and neighbourhood safer places in communities impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires.
Kempsey Shire Council was then informed in October 2020 that it had been awarded $11,283,000 under the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund to fully fund delivery of the project, based upon its application to the Growing Local Economies fund.