Mayor Stephen Lesslie welcomed the surprise announcement today that the NSW State Government had contributed $775000 towards the Union Theatre in Lithgow, adding to the $400,000 contributed by Lithgow ratepayers.
The Mayor, together with Deputy Mayor Wayne McAndrew and Councillor Ray Thompson were in meetings with the Defense Minister Marise Payne and Andrew Gee in Canberra at the time the surprise announcement came through.
“It was a complete surprise as it was last Friday afternoon that we received advice from Paul Toole’s office that the Minister was only attending the Theatre as part of an inspection program, and that it may present as a lobbying opportunity for Council” said the Mayor.
“Although Council contributes substantial funds in its own right for such ventures, we are continually surprised by these announcements by the State Government which seem to occur without Council knowledge or participation, notwithstanding the staff’s exceptional efforts in compiling competitive applications based on funds provided by our community.” said Cr Lesslie.
“Whilst we are pleased to be the recipient for these grant monies, we must continue to lobby for employment generating investment in Lithgow and minimize the additional operational costs incurred by our community resulting from one off grants, hence our lobbying efforts today and tomorrow involving Councilors Goodwin, Thompson, McAndrew and myself with Minister and Shadow Ministers in Federal Parliament.” said the Mayor.