Funding boost to help Australia’s Sydney thrive after a pandemic

SYDNEY, June 28 (Xinhua) — Businesses, charities and cultural groups in Sydney, the capital of Australia’s New South Wales, will receive millions of Australian dollars from an ambitious grant program announced Monday.

Sydney City Councilors approved more than 6.2 million Australian dollars (approximately $4.3 million) in cash and goods and services to ensure charitable, cultural and environmental programs thrive as Australia’s largest city continues to recover of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Clover Moore said on Tuesday that 156 projects ranging from support for vulnerable members of the community to local music and food festivals, as well as major events and corporate expos, were earmarked for support over the next three years.

She said the council had also created special grants for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people with disabilities, and culturally and linguistically diverse peoples.

“We are making sure there are no barriers to accessing the city’s support and making sure our grants go where they are needed most,” she said.

Funds are also allocated to artistic projects, such as a mural honoring the achievements of local Aboriginal elders who have passed away.

Other funds are going to live music venues that have been among the hardest hit sectors during recent years of prolonged lockdowns.

The announcement of the funding has been well received by small business operators such as Smile Marketing owner Alex Gibbs, who is also president of an inner-city chamber of commerce.

Gibbs said the money would help the chamber “focus on and support the growth and recovery of the visitor economy in our local business district.”

Moore, a longtime proponent of making the city eco-friendly, has also ensured that “green” groups are taken care of.

One of the projects to be green-lit is one that would eventually help the city’s iconic Opera House better manage its carbon emissions.

“We support the community groups that provide essential services, help local businesses recover and grow and breathe new life into Sydney’s cultural and nighttime economy,” said Moore.

“There’s energy and excitement and so much to look forward to in the city.”