LOCAL officials are hoping money from Tuesday's budget could go towards fixing major issues in the region, including the health care crisis and funding gaps for community projects.
Member for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson, has already said there is unlikely to be significant funding for big-ticket items due to them not being ready yet, but Gunnedah Shire Council (GSC) mayor Jamie Chaffey still wants to see some big problems addressed.
He said ongoing issues with the health sector in Gunnedah are an area of concern, and while it will take a long, multi-pronged approach to solve the dilemma, any immediate support would be of use.
"As we know, we have concerns around health, whether that be infrastructure, or whether it be the attraction of doctors or allied and community health workers," he said.
"Any focus in that area will make a significant difference for our community."
Some money is likely to be allocated for the planning of the new $53 million Gunnedah hospital, which received funding in last year's budget. The cost of preliminary planning is expected to be approximately $500,000.
Other funding opportunities Cr Chaffey would like to see for his shire are in regards to affordable housing, skills and training and arts and culture.
He is also hoping to see continued funding for a program which provides incentives for people to relocate from metropolitan regions to country areas, to help address Gunnedah's slow population growth rate.
A masterplan has been completed for the new $13 million Gunnedah cultural precinct, which would see a construction upgrade of the Civic Centre.
GSC are yet to seek funding from the state government, although it could be a major talking point next year, as Cr Chaffey said it would be the "next project on our list".
Similarly, the new Tamworth cultural precinct, which has a price tag of just less than $130 million, could be something for Mr Anderson to focus on in 2022, with Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray revealing it is not at the stage where funding can be applied for yet.
That doesn't mean he's not expecting good investment this year though, and he said he has spoken to the local MP about getting a new program set up to assist council with local infrastructure projects.
"Typically in the local government world we tend to be able to manage the very large projects okay, like the bridges and the big sporting projects and the big social infrastructure projects," he said.
"But it's really difficult to do some of the little things.
"It would be great if they could come up with a program that allows for things like the footpath programs and little things that just really make a difference to people's lives."
Mr Anderson said two of the most significant projects in Tamworth he was intending to secure funding for this year were the new ambulance station and Banksia mental health unit.
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