State in no rush to provide final funding for rescue tower
BALLINA MP Tamara Smith has told Ballina Shire mayor David Wright it's unlikely the State Government will come forward with additional funding for the town's new Marine Rescue Tower in the short term.
The pair met on Tuesday to discuss funding for the new tower after the existing "leaning tower" was declared unsafe and closed when two volunteers were seriously injured.
Cr Wright said the State Government had not yet confirmed whether more funding would be made available, but was told it was unlikely in the short term.
"They haven't actually told me or council if they will or won't but Tamara was coming to say she didn't think the State Government would, certainly in the short term," he said.
Who should stump up the last few hundred thousand for Ballina's Marine Rescue tower
This poll ended on 16 October 2015.
State Government - it's their asset after all
Federal Government - everyone should be chipping in on this
It's all my money whichever level of government has it's name on the receipt. Just get on with it!
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"We haven't been told anything except she said that she hadn't been able to get any money at that (stage)."
Ms Smith confirmed the State Government had not yet announced whether it would contribute further funding, but said the issue would be brought up with State Premier Mike Baird next week.
"The Premier has asked to meet with me next week in parliament to discuss this further," she said. "The purpose of my meeting with council was to explore our options to ensure construction on a new tower starts as soon as possible."
Based on council estimates, the new marine tower would cost about $2.1m to build.
Council has so far set aside $1m, volunteer organisation Marine Rescue NSW has promised $200,000 and the State Government has contributed $350,000, redirected from its Public Reserves Management Fund, leaving the project $450,000 to $550,000 short.
Both the existing and proposed towers are State Government assets built on Crown land.
The Federal Government is yet to contribute to the project.
Cr Wright said following the result of Tuesday's meeting, council's general manager would compile a report outlining the options available for construction of the tower.
He said the council had previously resolved not to put a tender out for construction until the project was fully funded.
"At the moment we can't progress because the council decision was for the full project," he said.
Cr Wright said given the conditions marine rescue volunteers were currently working in, he would be happy to see the project go to tender.
The council has applied for additional funding from the Federal Government's Stronger Regions Fund, which will be announced in November.