After much toing-and-froing amid changing guidelines, Tenterfield Shire Council has officially submitted its application for the one million dollars in drought funding being offered to eligible councils by the federal government.
Councillors initially allocated $50,000 of the funding towards buying Tenterfield Business Chamber’s Why Leave Town gift cards for the Salvation Army to distribute – giving local retailers an indirect boost – but an amendment to the guidelines disallowed gift cards which will now come under a different program.
Advice was received from program administrators that council’s wishlist of $200,000 for de-silting of private dams, $100,000 for labour relief for farmers and $5000 in assistance to small business was unlikely to be approved and these items were withdrawn, despite serious concerns about animals becoming stuck in silted-up dams.
The revised application now includes the original $50,000 for community drought support events, $25,000 for the NRA rodeo at the showground held on November 17, $50,000 for the Tenterfield Show and $25,000 for the provision and cartage of potable water (through the Salvation Army).
The community drought support events are family fun days at strategic locations around the shire, with catering, drought information and support, and supplies of hay and potable water provided.
Original allocations for the deemed-ineligible items will now instead top up the share put aside for upgrading and repairing timber bridges, bumping its allocation up from the original $495,000 to $850,000.
The bridges will receive another $50,000 boost if the Tenterfield Show is not rubber-stamped.
The funding has to be expended by next July (unless extensions are granted), indicating some tight deadlines ahead.
Meanwhile councillors are also disappointed that federal government commitments to provide a Tenterfield drought coordinator to help local primary producers complete paperwork and to provide support have yet to be fulfilled.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.