Mayor’s cash push

Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian

Geraldton’s mayor Shane Van Styn is preparing a bid for Federal money to fund “big chunky things” such as fast ferry facilities, feasibility studies for Abrolhos Islands tourism, and an expanded Geraldton Hospital.

He said he had a longstanding desire to secure a “City Deal”.

The program has seen large development funding packages go to Townsville, Launceston, Western Sydney, Darwin, Hobart, Geelong and Adelaide, with two new deals announced for Perth and South East Queensland.

The mayor is currently Regional Capitals Australia deputy chairman, and he will be attending the group’s AGM in December.

“I will obtain from the Government their future directions for the future direction of City Deals and what they now call Regional Deals,” he said.

“A Regional Deal for Geraldton could see investments made by the Federal Government targeting economic development and increasing jobs for Geraldton.”

The Tennant Creek area’s Barkly Regional Deal will be Australia’s first, with $45.4 million Commonwealth funding, $30 million from the NT Government and $3 million from Barkly Regional Council.

The Hinkler Regional Deal, covering Bundaberg and Hervey Bay in Queensland, is being negotiated, and a Regional Deal for Albury Wodonga was announced in March.

Member for Geraldton and WA Nationals’ regional cities spokesman Ian Blayney said he supported the mayor’s move to secure a deal. “I would do anything I could to help him do that,” he said. “If the Federal Government wants to sit at the table and put money in I think that is a great thing.”

Mr Blayney said the Howard Government’s Regional Partnerships program had delivered valuable items like the boat lifter that can lift a 200-tonne boat out of the water at Geraldton Fishermen’s Wharf.

“They did some good things around that time and that boat lifter is now quite a valued piece of infrastructure,” he said. “When you can give the Feds a good business case and they come into it I am sure we can do some good things.”

Member for Durack Melissa Price was unavailable for comment but said during her election campaign she would fight for a Geraldton City Deal.

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