Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith has backed calls by Regional Capitals Australia for the Government and Opposition to commit to 10 ‘City Deals’ worth $100 million each during the federal election campaign.
City Deals bring federal, state and local government together to work on an agreement for a specific regional capital. The agreement is tailor-made, and investment in services and infrastructure is fast-tracked, bringing certainty on how and when projects will be funded.
Mayor Isaac Smith said cities and regional towns such as Launceston, Albury-Wodonga and Townsville had benefited from City Deals in the last decade. He backed Regional Capitals Australia’s call to put 10 more deals on the table.
“A $100 million City Deal would change the face of Lismore by 2030 and cement the city as the economic engine of the Northern Rivers,” he said.
“A City Deal would also signal to business investors that the area is strategically important to the Government.”
Mayor Smith said a City Deal would generate immediate jobs growth and accelerated infrastructure investment.
“If successful in our bid for a City Deal, we would collaborate with federal and state government to develop a 10-year program of major works to modernise and grow Lismore’s facilities and services,” he said.
“Local government would have the greatest say in what those projects look like. While our plans are only in their infancy, we are very keen to create a more liveable city with greater housing choice and tourist potential; to become a hub for sustainable agriculture and freight in NSW; to be a sporting centre of excellence; and to become a world-class arts and cultural destination.”
Possible projects that could form part of a City Deal for Lismore include:
- Major redevelopment of the CBD riverbank.
- Transforming Lismore Airport into a regional freight hub.
- Implementation of a Smart City Strategy to deliver business outcomes through digital connectedness.
- Development of a creative enterprise lab to grow cultural industries.
- Establishment of a sustainable agriculture education and training centre.
- Establishment of a National Sports Centre of Excellence.
- Delivery of increased affordable housing.
Council’s General Manager Shelley Oldham travelled to Canberra this week for high-level discussions about Lismore’s strategic placement in the Northern Rivers and the need to grow the city as the regional capital.
“Lismore needs investment now to become a modern city that can support our regional communities into the future,” Mayor Smith said.
“We are telling the government very strongly that we need this deal. $100 million of government investment would give business confidence to invest in Lismore. These deals have transformed other major regional cities, and we need to ensure that Lismore does not get left behind.”
Image: Page MP Kevin Hogan, Lismore City Council General Manager Shelley Oldham and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in Canberra this week