Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney says a new election commitment launched by The Nationals WA will provide regional community organisations and businesses expansion opportunities through small and medium grants.
The $85 million Royalties for Regions-funded program will offer three streams of grants over five years ranging in size to meet the variety of needs in regional WA.
Mr Blayney said the grants program meant local community organisations and businesses would have access to secure funding opportunities that had dried up under the Labor Government.
“Organisations in Geraldton such as the Towns Football Club, the Batavia Coast Maritime Heritage Association and the Geraldton Hockey Association are screaming out for funding assistance yet opportunities in the last four years have been scarce,” he said.
“The Nationals WA are enabling local communities and businesses to reach their social, environmental and economic aspirations by lending a hand and providing assistance to programs and projects that are at the core of regional development.”
Mr Blayney said commitments made by The Nationals WA towards upgrading the Geraldton Scouts Hall, developing the Botanic Gardens and developing a feasibility study to investigate upgrades to the Marina highlight the importance of restoring the integrity of the former Regionals Grants Scheme.
“The organisations we have committed to would have all been able to apply for funding through Royalties for Regions but this has not been the case since Labor returned to Government,” Mr Blayney said.
“Since 2017 the Labor Government have trashed the Royalties for Regions programme which has meant regional organisations have nowhere to go to apply for funding assistance.
Funding will be split into three tiers available for applications varying in scale and purpose.
Community Chest grants up to $50,000 will be available for volunteer, educational, community and not-for-profit organisations to improve and develop infrastructure, services and local events.
Regional grants up to $500,000 will be available to organisations including local governments looking to grow their footprint and provide proven economic or social outcomes.
REDs will be increased up to $500,000 to help small-to-medium sized businesses grow their footprint and provide proven economic or industry boosts within their community.
Mr Blayney said more funding opportunities needed to be available to regional communities looking to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
“Our program also looks to decentralise decision making away from government and allow the Midwest Development Commission to play a lead role managing the application, assessment and administration process for all three funding streams.
“Regional WA deserves better and it’s why I’m committed to restoring Royalties for Regions so we can provide the Geraldton community with funding opportunities at a grassroots level.”