Council opened applications this week for the first tranche of Better Off Funding in the Waikato District, allocated by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) as part of the Three Waters Reform programme.
The government has allocated the Waikato District $7.88 million in the first tranche of funding as part of the wider national $2.5 billion package to support territorial authorities to transition to the new water services delivery system under the Three Waters Reform.
Waikato District Council provided feedback on the proposed Three Waters Reform process in 2021, seeking further clarification on Council’s role and impacts on the community.
Following discussions with councils across the country, the DIA developed the Better Off Funding to ensure financial impacts of reform are managed, and that councils and communities will transition to the new system for delivering three waters in a better position than they are currently.
Applications are welcomed from anyone across the Waikato District who has a project or initiative that meets the DIA criteria:
- support communities to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy, including building resilience to climate change and natural hazards;
- delivery of infrastructure and/or services that:
- enable housing development and growth, with a focus on brownfield and infill development opportunities where those are available,
- support local place-making and improvements in community well-being.
Council has formed a separate assessment panel which will provide a recommendation to Council on which projects/initiatives should be submitted to the DIA.
Based off the assessment panel recommendations, Council will submit a final recommendation to the DIA, but ultimately all application outcomes will be decided by the DIA.
Council will administer the funds on behalf of the DIA to successful projects.
General Manager of Service Delivery, Roger MacCulloch highlights the importance of engaging with the communities and understanding projects that benefit community wellbeing.
“Our communities are leading a variety of projects that meet the DIA determined criteria, and it is a priority for Council to enable our district to apply for funding and support community-led initiatives.
“Instead of investing the Better Off Funding just into Council-led projects, we wanted to provide our district with the opportunity to lead the way,” says Mr. MacCulloch.
Applications for the Waikato District’s Better Off Funding are open from Monday 18 July and will close on Friday 19 August.
More information and application forms can be found on our website.