New funding a game changer for Richmond Valley economy

MORE than $21 million will flow to the Richmond Valley local government area to encourage new business and boost economic growth.

Richmond Valley Council has been successful in obtaining $21,169,000 from the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, co-funded by the NSW and Australian governments, to provide major upgrades to its Casino industrial precinct ($9,969,000), as well as turn the Casino Showground into a state-of-the-art equestrian facility ($8,200,000), and provide the village of Rappville with a modern sewage treatment system($3,000,000).

Richmond Valley Council Mayor Robert Mustow thanked the NSW Government for its support of these three key projects, saying each would contribute to the future prosperity of the area.

Cr Mustow said this multi-million investment would help the Richmond Valley get back in the game after a horrendous couple of years of drought, bushfires, flooding and a pandemic.

He said today’s funding commitments from the Federal and NSW governments showed the importance of the planning work Council had undertaken to have these exciting projects ready for funding.

“We are delighted the Federal and NSW governments have provided this significant funding to help the Richmond Valley bounce back after a difficult couple of years,” Cr Mustow said.

“This is a hugely positive outcome for our community and comes at a critical time after back-to-back challenges triggered by natural disasters.

“We will continue working with our community to explore the opportunities this funding will provide, including opportunities to add to these investments.

“The funding provides us with hope of a strong recovery and a prosperous future; to be a game changer for the region’s economy.”

Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said the Casino Industries Activation project would establish a strong competitive advantage for businesses to locate in the Richmond Valley, in particular manufacturing businesses.

Mr Macdonald said the $9,969,000 would be spent on road, water, sewer and power infrastructure upgrades to facilitate significant economic, social and environmental outcomes for the Richmond Valley.

He said a grant from the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund had enabled progress, with a tender currently out for civil construction works at Council’s Reynolds Road industrial site, which is expected to commence before the end of this year.

He said today’s announcement would provide further activation of land at Casino’s existing industrial area, which would enable more than 46 hectares of land to be activated to meet current and forecasted demand for new industries.

He said following the 2016 Local Government Elections the Richmond Valley community gave Council a mandate to create an environment which encouraged new business, as well as support existing operators.

“Through the Community Strategic Plan, the community identified economic development as the cornerstone for a prosperous community, and we are pleased to report significant steps have been made towards that goal,” Mr Macdonald said.

“Council has worked hard to cultivate the right conditions for local employment opportunities and growth, and we are now in a position to start securing future investment.”

With a master plan already in place, the $8.2 million for the Casino Showground redevelopment will turn the facility into a modern equestrian precinct, attracting people from around the region, and potentially interstate.

Cr Mustow said the time was right for this type of redevelopment to ensure not only current activities survived and flourished, but for new ones to start up.

He said Council’s vision was to create a premier equestrian facility for club, regional, state, national and perhaps international events.

“The showgrounds have an important historical and social significance and are home of the Casino Show, the Beef Week and Gold Cup races, gymkhanas and camp drafts but you can do so much more with it,” Cr Mustow said.

“Exciting additions proposed for the site include an indoor equestrian arena, redevelopment of the horse racing training stables, and renewal of the sand track and racecourse proper.”

Cr Mustow said he was pleased to see $3,000,000 allocated for the construction of new sewerage treatment system for the Rappville community. This was identified in Council’s Rebuilding the Richmond Valley Community Revitalisation Plan released in February.

He said this would encourage more people to make the village their home.

At present, the township of Rappville is not on reticulated sewer; each home has an on-site sewage management system.

Cr Mustow said the new sewage treatment system would have capacity to service the existing and planned extended population.

“A sewage treatment system will create a safer, healthier and more sustainable village,” he said

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