Local MP Shane Love MLA says the Regional Development Minister’s plan to pit Community Resources Centres against each other to fight for funding will ultimately fail regional communities.
Mr Love’s comment comes as last week’s State Budget confirmed the Community Resource Network will have 40 per cent of its funding slashed from 1 July 2019.
Labor’s proposed two-tier funding model, announced last month, will see some CRCs lose more than half their operational funding, with the Minister preying on those that have said they will no longer be sustainable under new arrangements.
“The Minister is on the record saying CRCs that want to increase funding under the proposed new arrangements could do so at the expense of another centre’s allocation,” Mr Love said.
“She is attempting to divide and conquer individual centres by saying there is room for negotiation but additional funding will only come at the expense of another.”
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will finalise a review of the Network mid-year; a review which did not commence until after funding cuts were outlined.
CRCs have until 20 May 2018 to respond to Labor’s proposed two-tier funding model.
Mr Love urged the Minister and her Department to closely consider feedback from centre managers, saying harsh funding cuts to 105 CRCs across WA had left a bitter taste in the mouth of many regional communities.
“CRCs are effectively the hub of their communities and best positioned to advise the Department on appropriate structures and service delivery models that meet community needs and expectations,” he said.
“Community Resource Centres make an enormous difference in regional WA. “In addition to the regular functions of a CRC, the Mingenew CRC encompasses the local post office, runs a childcare centre and provides a community service by offering a weekly activity for local aged persons, while the Perenjori CRC operates a café.
“I am calling on DPIRD and the Minister to take very careful note of feedback they receive from the organisations impacted on how the network can be administered in the future.”
The Nationals WA Leader Mia Davies said the McGowan Government undervalued the role CRCs play in maintaining healthy, connected communities and providing a shopfront for vital State and Federal government services.
“Across WA they provide services for youth, the elderly, people living with disability, professional development, traineeships, employ hundreds of people and are supported by more than 1000 volunteers,” she said.
“Despite the State Government saying no CRCs will close, reduced operational funding will put significant strain on service delivery and limit their region-building capacity.”