$1 million drought funding programme a boost to local economy

Eagles President Ian Robertson, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Mayor Bill West at the rugby ground announcement.
Eagles President Ian Robertson, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Mayor Bill West at the rugby ground announcement.

Despite a wet start to the year, the effects of the drought are still being felt in Cowra and the surrounds.

With that in mind, projects across the shire have been given another boost, thanks to $1 million in funding from the Federal Government.

The new funding follows another $1 million previously delivered to the Cowra community in 2019 through an earlier round of the Drought Communities Programme (DCP).

Visiting both the Cowra Rugby Grounds and the village of Wattamondara, Member for Riverina and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said 10 projects submitted by Cowra Shire Council had been approved.

"This is fantastic news for Cowra, which has been fighting hard against the drought and deserves more government help to win the battle," he said.

"The rain this year has been positive, but the drought is far from over.

"These new projects build on last year's boost, keeping people in work and money flowing into the shops," he said.

Projects approved include the redevelopment of the Cowra Rugby Club change rooms and construction of a multi-purpose gymnasium, the fit out of toilets at the Japanese Garden Café and the construction of a community hall at Wattamondara.

President of the Cowra Rugby Club, Ian Robertson, said the funding the club received would help future-proof the club.

"The monies that we've been given will enable us to build our infrastructure into the future," he said.

"The way the club operates, we compete against large regional towns, so we need to have facilities that allow us to compete against them and attract high quality rugby representative games to Cowra.

"To provide an economic boost to the community."

Members of the Wattamondara community with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack at the hall announcement on Monday.

Members of the Wattamondara community with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack at the hall announcement on Monday.

The project approvals was welcomed by Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West.

"The effects of the drought are still being felt in the Cowra district," Councillor West said.

"This $1 million allows our shire, including our villages, to undertake some capital improvements and new facilities which otherwise in the current circumstance we could not afford.

"The projects will help grow our shire."

Cr West said the first round of projects funded last year had delivered "tremendous benefit" to the Cowra economy and he was looking forward to a similar economic lift from the new round.

"The drought communities program have really provided a tremendous stimulus boost for rural and regional economies and Cowra is no different, this federal government grant is greatly received," he said.

"It enables us to have money spread through the community on very important infrastructure projects that will stimulate an economic boom in the community, but also gives infrastructure which will stand the test of time for generations after us."

Cr West said he expected immediate benefits because some projects were ready to start now, such as the Japanese Garden Café toilets.

"We will be ready to start that project as soon as the cheque is in our hands," he said.

"Some other projects will take a little longer to complete."

The other project approved under the funding include:

  • Refurbishment of the Billimari Hall
  • Installation of solar lighting, and underground watering system, revitalisation of the Memorial Wall area and development of a children's bike training circuit at Europa Park, Cowra;
  • Repairs and improvements at the Morongla Showground including maintenance to the canteen and installation of a mobile phone repeater facility
  • Upgrade of facilities at the Cowra Showground Pavilion
  • Activation of the Cowra to Holmwood Tourist Railway for heritage steam train operations (six kilometres of track)
  • Fit out of toilet facilities at the Japanese Garden Café
  • Installation of a community kitchen at the Cowra Information and Neighbourhood Centre
  • Construction of a disabled/ambulant amenities block at Woodstock Soldiers Memorial Park