Liberals axe funding for Springwood Civic Centre revamp

The new Springwood Civic Centre may be left an empty shell after the Federal Government declined to fund projects promised by the previous government.

More than $440,000 had been committed to fit out the Early Childhood Centre and the performance theatre in the new building and to landscape neighbouring Braemar House.

Other projects which were to be funded from the Regional Development Australia Fund included a concrete path on Railway Parade at Woodford, disabled access to the Winmalee Neighbourhood Centre, the refurbishment of back rooms in the Lawson Community Hall, work on the Corridor of Oaks and construction of seating at Glenbrook Lagoon Reserve.

In total, $645,794 in funds promised under Labor will not be honoured by the Coalition Government. At a council meeting last week, all councillors expressed their extreme disappointment with the decision.

Daniel Myles said there would be a massive impact on the Springwood Civic Centre.

“Where are the dollars going to come from to fit it out?” he asked. “We will have a great building and nothing inside it.”

Mick Fell said the decision “really is going to severely curtail our ability to deliver the project in the manner in which we hoped”.

And Brendan Luchetti said: “This is more than a slap in the face for the community, it’s a kick in the guts.”

He said if council had to find the extra money itself, other projects would have to be put on hold or abandoned.

Chris Van der Kley said while he was disappointed, council had to be “realistic”.

“When we put in the application, we were not guaranteed. We really need now to have a look at our capital works program to see if we can fund one or two of these things.”

But Clr Van der Kley joined the rest of council in voting to write to the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss, as well as the member for Macquarie Louise Markus and Senator Doug Cameron expressing extreme disappointment with the non-delivery of funding.

Mayor Mark Greenhill said: “The last government funded the majority of the Civic Centre. The last government gave us the funding we are talking about here. This government looks like it will cut important money that will enhance the facility.”

Clr Greenhill called on the minister to reconsider and added: “These grants don’t only build great enhancements across the Blue Mountains. They also provide construction and economic stimulus at a time when our economy is struggling.”

Labor’s spokeswoman for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, called the decision as a “betrayal” by Mrs Markus.

“Exactly a year ago, when Labor’s funding for the Civic Centre project was finalised, she dared to bring into question our commitment to that funding. Clearly, it is the Coalition who lacks commitment to see this wonderful project properly delivered.”

But Mrs Markus said the Regional Fund monies were “Labor election commitments and were not funded”.

“Unfortunately Labor got into the habit of promising communities money that did not exist and was not in the budget,” she said.

“We will deliver on any election commitments we made. We cannot, unfortunately, clean up all of the mess left behind by Labor.”

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