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Water filling stations, facilities at White Park and tennis court upgrades at Merriwa among projects granted drought funding


Water filling stations, a canteen and office for White Park and tennis court refurbishments at Merriwa are some of the projects now going ahead thanks to almost $1 million worth of funding.

The $738,000 funding injection is thanks to successful applications from Upper Hunter Shire Council to the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Program (DCP).

The DCP targets infrastructure and other projects that create employment stimulate local expenditure and build strong, resilient communities.  

New England MP and Special Envoy for Drought Assistance and Recovery Barnaby Joyce said the funding comes at a time when the area needs it the most.

“I am proud to fight for communities like Merriwa, Aberdeen, Murrurundi or Scone – towns which are vital to the fabric of the New England electorate,” Barnaby Joyce said.

“This drought funding and ensuing construction work will help boost the economies of these towns at a time when they need it most, keeping people in jobs and money ticking through local communities.”

Council has already received funding to support the employment of Drought Relief Workers, promotion of buying local - ‘We LIVE Here’ campaign, community events and community hall maintenance.

This next round of funding will go towards a number of projects including:

-  Water filling stations for Scone and Merriwa enabling farmers and others to ‘fill up’ their pods and generally make water more accessible
- Merriwa Youth Centre will receive much needed maintenance and repairs
- Murrurundi Library will receive mobility access toilets and an outdoor play area
- Merriwa and Scone pools will receive shade sails at the deep ends of pools
- Merriwa Tennis Courts will be upgraded with courts to be resurfaced and one adapted for multi-purpose sporting use
- White Park will get a new canteen and office
- Bill Rose Sports Complex will receive a new irrigation system, ensuring greater water efficiency
- Aberdeen will receive an adventure playground at Jefferson Park, an asset for locals as well as an attraction for tourists

The Merriwa Tennis Club was on the verge of closing its doors for good due to a lack of funding and being unsuccessful in funding grants.

Now having been thrown a lifeline they’ll be able to refurbish their courts.

“Across our electorate, we make sure we fix up the tennis courts.”

“Tennis is a game you can play without having a team or a partner, you can come out from the country where team sports are more difficult and still have the community interaction you get from playing sports,” he said.

“It’s a great social game and I hope that one day from one of these bush courts will come another Tony Roche, or Rod Laver, another Pat Cash or another Leyton Hewitt because that is a large section of not only the fabric of Merriwa but also the culture of Australia.”

Under the funding terms, the projects must be completed by 30 June 2019.

Image credit: Grant Broadcasters/Jessica Rouse