5084—NEWCASTLE ART GALLERY

Mr Primrose to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Hunter, and Vice-President of the Executive Council representing the Premier, and Minister for Western Sydney—

  1. Was the decision not to fund a third of the cost of the extensions to the Newcastle Art Gallery influenced by concerns expressed by the Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy, arising from a personal taxation issue?
  2. If not:
    1. When was the Premier made aware of the Lord Mayor's opposition to the Gallery?
    2. What were the reasons for not providing the funding?

Answer—

There remains no specific NSW Government budgetary allocation to support the redevelopment project. This has been the Government's stated position since the first representations were made by Council in late 2011.

The Government has encouraged Council to apply for funding through the established infrastructure programs available, including the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund (HIIF).

The NSW Government is advised by the independent HIIF Advisory Board in relation to decision making on infrastructure spending priorities for the Hunter region under the Fund. In 2012, the Board launched a Call for Projects, resulting in submissions for 49 individual projects.

Proposals received were assessed against a stringent set of evaluation criteria, and needed to demonstrate how they contribute to the economic growth and liveability of the Hunter region. The HIIF Advisory Board made recommendations to the NSW Government, through the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Brad Hazzard MP.

I am advised that the HIIF Advisory Board received a formal funding application from Newcastle City Council for the Art Gallery Redevelopment as part of the 2012 Call for Proposals, and was assessed through this process.

Following a rigorous comparative assessment of all 49 proposals by the HIIF Advisory Board and the Government, the Art Gallery redevelopment proposal was not one of the projects successful in obtaining funding through the round of HIIF announcements made in September 2013.



Question asked on 15 October 2013 (session 55-1) and printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 168.
Answer received on 19 November 2013 and printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 180.