Re­source cen­tre fund slash pain

Midwest Times - - NEWS - Ge­off Vi­vian

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.”

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