More than two years after Toronto’s motor registry closed, to the dismay of thousands, the lakeside suburb will get a full-scale Service NSW centre.
NSW Finance, Services and Property Minister Victor Dominello will announce today that this month’s 2018/19 NSW Budget will fund the new facility, which will include Roads and Maritime Services, Births, Deaths and Marriages and provide access to dozens of other state agencies.
The government will look for an existing building in Toronto to establish the facility, rather than build a new office. It is expected to be open by the end of this year.
The Newcastle Herald understands the government has earmarked more than $1 million to set up the centre and has plans for long-term annual funding.
It comes after the Toronto and Belmont motor registry offices were controversially closed in 2015 as the government transitioned to facilities it considered to be “one-stop-shops” for everything from age pension cards and birth certificates to driver’s licences.
A petition containing more than 11,000 signatures was compiled in the aftermath of the decision, calling for Toronto to be given a better option than travelling to Service NSW offices at Warners Bay, Toukley or Wallsend.
Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper, who has been advocating for a Service NSW office at Toronto, said the government had given him a “sympathetic ear”.
But despite a looming state election, the independent MP said he didn’t believe the government would have granted the funding based solely on good will – there were “good arguments” for the facility.
Read more: Service centre closure blasted
“We never gave up. To their credit, the state government and Minister Dominello listened,” Mr Piper said.
“This is a great and sensible decision on many fronts because it will also provide a boost for all the other local businesses at Toronto which have been doing it tough.
“The Service NSW office will bring more people into town to do business and pay their bills instead of being forced to go elsewhere.”