Arts precinct awaits Govt funding call
Construction of the Karratha Arts and Community Precinct will likely be delayed unless the City of Karratha’s second attempt to secure $10 million from the National Stronger Regions Fund is successful.
In June, the City missed out on the first round of funding through the Federal Government initiative.
There were only five successful WA projects in the first round, one of which was $6 million for a project in Belmont, Perth.
During a recent visit to the prospective project site, the Pilbara News asked Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss why the Federal Government did not fund any projects north of Geraldton.
“The stronger regions fund is a very competitive program; there are over 500 applications asking for several billion dollars,” he said.
“We are only able to fund 50 projects in the whole of Australia, so naturally there are many projects that were not successful the first time round.”
Mr Truss denied the decision to approve funding for a city project from an initiative designed to “fund priority infrastructure in regional communities” was a misleading use of funds.
“We want to make sure this program is helping people in disadvantaged areas; many of these will
be in the country but there are also suburban parts of our nation where the economy is slow,” he said.
“It was always intended that the program would benefit disadvantaged communities in the country as well as the city.
“Since the first round, we have offered some feedback to applicants who were not successful.”
Mr Truss said the next round of successful projects would be announced in December.
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said tenders for the construction of the Karratha Arts and Community Precinct would be invited in early 2016 if external funding was secured.
“The City of Karratha National Stronger Regions Funding application was submitted in July for the current funding round,” he said.
“A Lotterywest expression of interest has also been lodged and we are currently awaiting feedback.”
The City council expects to fund about half the project itself but previously said it would underwrite the project by up to $46 million in fear it misses out on the Federal scheme.
The City has also applied for $14 million of Royalties for Regions money through the Pilbara Cities Infrastructure Fund and is also negotiating with industry for about $9 million in funding.
The $54 million precinct will include an arts centre, gallery space, an outdoor event space with an amphitheatre, as well as a new library and space for the local history office.