State Emergency Service local controller Steve Cliffe says he is ‘‘disappointed but not surprised’’ stage two of an upgrade to the organisation’s Wollongong state headquarters missed out on a slice of the Illawarra infrastructure fund pie.
The $600,000 upgrade had previously been short-listed as a potential recipient. However, Minister for the Illawarra John Ajaka confirmed this week the project had not received final approval.
He encouraged proponents of projects that had missed out to seek alternative avenues for funding.
‘‘I’ve indicated to many of the unsuccessful applicants that it doesn’t mean that doors are closed in your face,’’ he said.
‘‘It means that you will now go to another level and seek funding applications with different government department – state and federal.
‘‘I want to assist them in any way that I can.’’
Stage one of the new Wollongong City Unit SES vehicle storage and training facility, which included a new volunteers’ office at Spring Hill and upgrades to the Montague Street headquarters, was completed earlier this year.
Mr Cliffe said he had learnt at a briefing earlier this year it was likely the application wouldn’t meet all the necessary criteria for funding.
‘‘Ongoing economic benefits was one of the key criteria they were going to use to assess the project,’’ he said.
‘‘At the time I realised our project was probably pretty weak in that it’s not one that would generate much in the way of ongoing jobs. That’s the main reason I wasn’t too surprised hearing we didn’t get up.’’
If approved, stage two would have ‘‘eased constraints’’ SES volunteers currently faced due to their headquarters being located in a flood-prone area.
Mr Cliffe said the upgrade was now probably a ‘‘couple of years away’’.
‘‘We’ll be looking at any other funding opportunities or grants,’’ he said.