Resource centre fund slash pain
Community Resource Centre Mullewa co-ordinator Coby Elliott said he was nervously awaiting the outcome of the State Government’s projected funding cuts.
His comments came after the WA Government announced CRC funding would drop from $13 million to $8 million a year.
“If we shut down, everyone will have to go to Geraldton and not everyone is fit and able to get to Geraldton,” Mr Elliott said.
“We need to prepare ourselves for some worst-case scenarios.”
The new McGowan Labor Government refused to renew the three-year funding arrangements CRCs used to have, opting instead to grant most of them 18 months of funding while conducting a review.
Mr Elliott said while CRCs still provided internet access and computer training to people in regional centres, they now had more of an economic and community development role.
Nationals WA member for the Agricultural Region Martin Aldridge said he was ramping up pressure on the State Government to clarify how CRCs would be affected by the 40 per cent budget reduction.
“Both the Premier Mark McGowan and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan have made it clear they do not support the level of CRC Network funding,” Mr Aldridge said.
“They would like a reduction in the number of centres, particularly in the Wheatbelt.”
Ms MacTiernan said no decisions about individual CRCs would be made until the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development had completed a review in 12 months.
“The costs of running CRCs blew out tremendously under the Barnett spending spree — the total CRC budget of $5.9 million in 200910 ballooned to $13 million five years later,” she said. “We were elected to bring the finances back in order and our out-year allocation of $8 million represents what would have been the normal trajectory of growth . . . communities will be kept informed throughout this process and we will ensure that important services continue to be delivered to communities.”