BOTH Moorabool Shire and Ballarat City Council have welcomed a state government loan scheme which will see much needed improvements fast-tracked at sports clubs throughout the region.
But not everyone is happy, with one Ballarat councillor describing the scheme as a “debt creation rort” which on small communities.
Treasurer Tim Pallas visited both municipalities on Wednesday announcing that Ballarat would receive $10 million and Moorabool $1.6 million as part of the Community Sports Infrastructure Loans scheme, a $100 million program aimed at providing low-interest loans to councils.
In Ballarat, the loan will allow council to bring forward 17 sporting infrastructure projects at 12 clubs in nine locations over the next two years.
In Moorabool, competition standard lighting will be installed on ovals at Ballan, Gordon, Wallace, Bungaree, and Dunnstown
Moorabool Mayor Paul Tatchell said it would have taken up to 15 years for the projects at the five venues to be completed by the Shire itself.
“It makes an enormous difference,” he said. “This is the start of a really sensible fiscal partnership between local and state government, it de-politicises the funding and makes sure councils keep their books in order.
But Ballarat councillor Ben Taylor said it would mean Ballarat has another $10 million debt to pay.
“The state government in recent times, has had the biggest windfall of income with the sale of the port, Snowy Hydro, Land tax and sale of government offices, giving the government billions of dollars, But Ballarat goes into debt to deliver what is needed.” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Pallas also announced a re-elected State Government would provide $3 million in funding for the Ballan Recreation Reserve for much needed upgrades to its oval and pavilion.
In another election promise made on Wednesday, Education Minister James Merlino said the state government would contribute $1.5 million of a $1.8 million project towards an upgrade at Siena Catholic Primary School in Lucas.
The project will include construction of a gymnasium, landscaping and a bus exchange.
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