A multi-million dollar election commitment for a long-heralded Bathurst infrastructure project will now rest on the decision of the newly elected Labor government, after the Coalition failed to secure a majority.
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In the lead-up to the election, Calare MP Andrew Gee announced $15 million was "locked in" for a multi-storey car park behind the Bathurst RSL Club, dependant on the election result.
But while Mr Gee comfortably retained the seat of Calare at Saturday's federal election, the poor performance of the Liberal Party in key metropolitan seats saw the Coalition swept from power after nine years.
Mr Gee said it will now be up to the new government to determine the status of the funding.
"While the funding pool for this project was in the budget, unfortunately the government has changed hands, which means it's now up to the new government to access the funding and back the project," Mr Gee said.
Mr Gee estimated the project would cost around $28 million, and would compliment the proposed $70 million Bathurst Integrated Medical Centre [BIMC], as well as improve CBD parking availability.
Bathurst RSL Club and the BIMC developers have each committed $4.2 million to the car park, with Bathurst Regional Council seeking funding for the remainder.
Mr Gee said he'll continue to lobby for the project in parliament despite now being in opposition.
"There is a multi-million dollar federal funding application still in for the Building Better Regions fund, and that's now going to be on the desk of the new government," he said.
"Working with our local council and supporters of the project, it's going to be my job to make sure we put forward the strongest possible case to get this funding and keep the momentum of the project going."
Bathurst mayor Robert Taylor acknowledged securing the remaining funds for the car park will be a tough ask, but said the issue of more CBD parking remains high on council's agenda.
"Whilst the $15 million election commitment from Mr Gee was welcome, council accepts it will be difficult to receive this level of funding," Cr Taylor said.
Despite the change in government federally, Cr Taylor said council remains committed to seeing the federal government recognise the importance of what has previously been described as "Bathurst's number one infrastructure project".
"Council will be requesting this application be considered regardless of the election result," he said.
"The project remains very important to the future of Bathurst as the community expects council to provide additional parking in the CBD."
Bathurst RSL Club chief executive officer Peter Sargent said it's now up to council and Mr Gee to push harder for the remaining car park funding, which will produce infrastructure "we have to have."
"We understood Mr Gee's funding announcement was conditional, so we were always mindful it may not materialise," Mr Sargent said.
"But we've committed to it, the developer has committed to it, and most people in Bathurst are calling out for more parking in the CBD.
"This is a key issue that needs to be addressed."
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