About $10 million worth of government grants have been allocated to organisations and projects in the Cessnock local government area in the past two months.
The Branxton-Greta Memorial Cycleway received $1.95 million from the Federal Government's Building Better Regions Fund, with Cessnock City Council to contribute $650,000 to the long-awaited project.
The four-kilometre cycleway will connect Branxton and Greta and pay tribute to the 321 residents of the twin towns who served in World War I, with reflection points along the way.
Council received $6.6 million from the NSW Government's Growing Local Economies Fund to upgrade Cessnock Airport, a project that is expected to create 60 jobs and inject $32 million into the local economy.
The NSW Government's Stronger Country Communities Fund provided almost $1 million worth of funding to Cessnock-area projects, including:
- $217,000 to Cessnock PCYC for its Fit for Work/Fit for Life program, which aims to support at-risk youth who may be disengaged from education or employment by providing positive opportunities that educate, inspire and empower
- $215,000 to the Top Blokes Foundation to deliver youth mentoring programs for more than 400 young men in Cessnock
- $98,000 for Branxton-Greta Little Athletics to build a new four-bay storage shed at Miller Park
- $195,326 to Cessnock City Council for kitchen upgrades at Cessnock Youth Centre and Outreach Service and Cessnock Performing Arts Centre
- $120,000 for Reflex Social Services for Cessnock Supports, a community in-reach program that will provide counselling, education and peer support to people in the area
- $88,900 for the Lions Club of Branxton to construct a new, larger storage facility
- $57,100 for Kurri Kurri Gymnastics Club for vital new equipment to extend their programs.
The NSW Government's economic stimulus package provided $825,000 to fast-track road works on Leggetts Drive at Mulbring, and Cessnock Showground will receive $60,000 for upgrade work.
Council also recently received $75,000 from the NSW Government to engage a specialist consultant for the Richmond Vale Rail Trail project - a role that would be crucial to moving this regionally-significant project forward.
Following the influx of funding in late April, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Catherine Cusack told ACM the state government was determined to put good policy ahead of popularity, to get rid of the "mates game".
"This is a merit-based decision making that serves the best interests of every citizen regardless of their vote," Ms Cusack said.
"It's delivering unprecedented community infrastructure, fully funded and fully delivered every time.
"It injects funds for a good purpose and every single household benefits by keeping the money flowing into the local economy."
Cessnock's Labor MP, Clayton Barr, acknowledged the spending was welcome.
"Some of these projects have been on the table for a number of years, so to finally get the funding is a good thing," he said.
"Allowing them to go ahead will make positive long-term changes to facilities and equipment that will be enjoyed for decades to come."