Federal funding to improve lighting and CCTV at the Byron Bay Taxi rank remains uncertain with the federal attorney general department refusing to commit to the funding.
The Safer Suburbs Program Taxi Security Scheme totalling $60,000, was announced for Byron Shire Council under the previous Labor government but remains in limbo under the new Tony Abbott-led government.
A spokesman for the attorney-general’s department, which is under the direction of Liberal MP George Brandis, said ‘grant spending across the government is currently being assessed due to tightened financial circumstances and the need to ensure financial commitments are consistent with the government’s priorities.
‘This includes the Safer Suburbs Program Taxi Security Scheme. Byron Shire Council will be advised as quickly as possible of the outcomes of this process once the government has concluded its considerations.’
It comes after funding worth $149,000 for the completion of stage two of the criterion track at the Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex was axed by deputy prime minister and Nationals leader, Warren Truss last week.
Byron shire mayor Simon Richardson says essential infrastructure funding seemed to be ‘drying up’ in recent months.
‘For smaller councils like Byron Shire, grant funding is a significant component of how we deliver projects and programs. It enables us to match our existing budgets and get projects off the ground faster,’ Cr Richardson said.
He says Council is also waiting on the outcome of a $125,000 grant application from the federal Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund for the development of a Byron Bay Town and Foreshore Master Plan.
‘We missed out on the National Crime Prevention grant to assist with improved environmental lighting and education programs to help reduce anti-social behaviour as a result of alcohol-induced violence,’ he said.
‘With all the recognised challenges Byron faces in reclaiming its nightlife and tackling anti-social behaviour, you would hope that the differing levels of government would be supportive.’