Local tradespeople have been given an encouraging boost with the announcement from the State Government this week that it will introduce a new tendering system.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke announced on Tuesday the NSW Government will introduce an e-Tendering initiative to enable local tradies to procure school maintenance jobs in the region.
The Government has made the announcement as a part of its plan to stimulate regional economies as the on-going drought grips the majority of the state.
According to Ms Cooke the announcement means tradies in the Cootamundra electorate will have precedence when it comes to procurement for maintenance jobs at local public schools, with the new online system allowing businesses to engage directly with the NSW Government on projects in the region.
Ms Cooke said the online procurement process will ensure local businesses are better supported throughout the drought.
"This new approach to tendering for school maintenance projects will provide approximately 25,000 opportunities to quote for work across the State, with an estimated total value of $50 million," Ms Cooke said.
"We know it's not just our farmers doing it tough at the moment; the knock-on impact of the drought is felt throughout the whole community.
"As a Government, it is crucial we continue to prioritise the employment of local businesses where we can."
Deputy Premier and Leader of the NSW Nationals John Barilaro said the initiative is well-timed as a part of the Government's continued commitment to stimulating local economies during this unprecedented drought.
"We need to give local businesses in areas like Cootamundra every opportunity to keep money local and the economy ticking over," Mr Barilaro said.
Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the 2019-20 NSW Budget provides more than $620 million to clear the school maintenance backlog in all public schools by July 2020, bringing the total maintenance investment to more than $1.3 billion over five years.
According to Ms Mitchell it will be the first time in the state's history that the school maintenance backlog will be wiped to zero.
"This Government is making good on our promise to clear the school maintenance backlog, with almost half the work already completed," Ms Mitchell said.
"Through this new e-Tendering system, local tradies in areas like Cootamundra will be given more opportunities for the uptake of local jobs, and schools will be able to work alongside trusted community-based businesses."
According to Ms Cooke the new platform will be fully functioning and operational by early next year.