Among the highlights of this week's NSW budget for the Mid-Western Region is close to $6 million that the state member said will help fund the completion of two major local projects.
Member for the Dubbo Electorate, Dugald Saunders, said $5.4 million is budgeted in 2020-21 to put the finishing touches on the Mudgee Hospital Redevelopment after an alternative plan for the old hospital had been explored.
"That's the money that goes towards the demolition of the old building. It was just being held because we were still looking at options around whether that old building could've suitable for community use," he said.
"But after a fair bit of investigation, into wiring and pipes, it was revealed that it would've cost far too much to try and repair the building. So it was demolished as part of the original plan so that area will be carparking.
"And the money in the budget is to now get on and do that. Which I know will keep the residents of Meares Street very happy, because obviously they've been affected by an increase in traffic and parking which has caused concern - and this will alleviate what we've seen since the opening of the new hospital."
He added that as the project nears completion, they can start to explore potential future expansion of the site.
"It really has been a fast project, I remember when the announcement was made and I was there when the old buildings that were where the new Mudgee Hospital stands today started coming down. Then it was only about 15 months to build, it was incredibly fast and the result is outstanding," he said.
"This will now bring that to a close. And the potential for the rest of the site to be a real precinct for Health and Allied Health is now what's being worked on with Council.
"There's a lot of opportunity and a lot of interest in how that can develop over the coming years."
Another $500,000 has been budgeted in 2020-21 for the local gallery project.
"We've already announced the extra money for the Mudgee Cultural Precinct and part of that is coming forward in this budget. Anyone going past the site would seen there's been a lot of work going on there for a while now," Saunders said.
"That is just money that's going towards that budget this financial period and there'll be more in the next budget as well to continue that work. Which will see another incredible site.
"As that project develops and we see the scale of the building itself I think people will be really pleased with what will be on offer. The community has called for this for a long time, it's been a focal point and it's been the final missing piece of the puzzle.
"Mudgee is full of very talented artists of different forms. And this will be an exciting opportunity for not only for local artists, but to also showcase the big touring shows that other larger centres tend to get because they have the facilities and the ability to host them - and Mudgee will be on that touring map."
And added the announcement of four $25 vouchers for every adult resident to spend on dining and entertainment, to help stimulate our recovering economy, should benefit the Mid-Western Region as well.
"The Out and About vouchers will be trialled in coming months, then hopefully rolled out statewide next year after the little kinks are ironed out. I think it's really good for the restaurants and cafes of places like Mudgee and Gulgong that will really benefit," he said.
"It's not necessarily going to pay for an entire meal - depending on where you are and what you're doing - but it's stimulus to say we want to keep supporting our hospitality venues. There's been an incredible bounce-back since COVID started and we want to see that continue into the future as much as possible."
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