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Darren Chester criticises Albanese government for not supporting Stronger Communities Program and affecting local groups

Darren Chester accuses the Albanese government of neglecting local community groups by not providing ongoing funding for the Stronger Communities Program, undermining grassroots initiatives.

By news@gippsland - 17th October 2023 - Back to News

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has accused the Albanese government of abandoning local sporting and community groups with its failure to provide ongoing funding for the Stronger Communities Program (SCP). Speaking in Federal Parliament, Mr Chester said the former Coalition government had funded more than 15,000 small projects under the program but the Labor Party was abandoning community organisations in the middle of a cost of living crisis.

During a cost-of-living crisis, Darren Chester condemns the Albanese government for overlooking local community groups due to insufficient Stronger Communities Program funding

During a cost-of-living crisis, Darren Chester condemns the Albanese government for overlooking local community groups due to insufficient Stronger Communities Program funding

Government's funding failure

Mr Chester told Parliament, "The failure to provide a funding commitment, to provide funding certainty, for the Stronger Communities Program gives us a glimpse of what lies at the heart and the soul of this government. Ever since coming to office last year, the government has continued to cut programs in regional areas where the communities had a direct say in their local priorities. It's more of the same with the Stronger Communities Program."

"This is a government that thinks Canberra knows best. It thinks it knows best. It simply doesn't trust local communities to come up with local solutions and local priorities for the expenditure of taxpayers' money."

"At a time when communities, households and families are dealing with increased cost-of-living pressures, this government is taking away a funding program which helps the sporting clubs and community organisations fund small infrastructure initiatives that would otherwise be paid for by the hard work of volunteers. In other words paid for by the mums and dads who pay subscriptions or actually raise money for those clubs and organisations," Mr Chester said.

Effective community funding

Mr Chester said the SCP was successful because it was evenly distributed across Australia with each electorate allocated $150,000 per year to provide grants of between $2500 and $20,000. "In reality, the clubs and community groups would leverage these small grants with their own money and in-kind donations to actually deliver much more significant projects than would be possible if Canberra was running the program."

"The SCP delivered value for money and took some of the pressure off community groups at a time when the cost of living is impacting everyone. The Prime Minister should intervene and guarantee ongoing funding for future rounds of SCP because it's a program that actually works," Mr Chester said.

Pictures from Darren Chester MP website.


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