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Federal program of regional grants like Building Better Regions Fund need overhaul

The Federal Government should overhaul its regional grants funding programs which are failing to deliver fair outcomes for communities like Gippsland, according to local MP Darren Chester.

By news@gippsland - 8th October 2021 - Back to News

Mr Chester said the latest round of Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) had reinforced his view that the competitive grants formula was unfair and inequitable. "Its become a report writing competition with the homework marked by Canberra bureaucrats who are disconnected from regional communities and theres no guarantee that each region receives any funding whatsoever," Mr Chester said.

Seaspray SLSC was one of three local organisations to receive a Building Better Regions Fund grant but local MP Darren Chester says the program needs to be overhauled to deliver a fairer and more transparent system

Seaspray SLSC was one of three local organisations to receive a Building Better Regions Fund grant but local MP Darren Chester says the program needs to be overhauled to deliver a fairer and more transparent system

Overhaul the funding

Mr Chester said, "Large organisations with paid grant writers are competing with volunteer-run community groups and theres an enormous waste of time and effort. Under the latest round, Gippsland received just $500,000 out of a $300 million fund despite applying for several major projects that wouldve made a difference in some of the most disadvantaged parts of our region."

"The three projects that have been funded are all good initiatives but it beggars belief that no major projects in Gippsland were deemed worthy enough by the Canberra bureaucracy, and I fear our region has been short-changed. The entire funding model needs to be overhauled with each region provided with an allocation of funding based on socio-economic needs."

"with extra weighting for more vulnerable regions. Rather than Canberra bureaucrats making these decisions, the locally-based Regional Development Association Gippsland committee members should be making funding recommendations to the responsible Ministers," said Mr Chester.

Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation received $375,000 towards the upgrade of the community centre

Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation received $375,000 towards the upgrade of the community centre

Fair and transparent allocations of funding

Mr Chester said he would write formally to the Prime Minister seeking an overhaul of the regional grants program to provide increased fairness, equity and transparency. "Allocative models of funding have worked for major programs in partnership with local councils and the BBRF needs to be reformed to ensure every region receives a share for local priority projects," Mr Chester said.

"Ive argued for several years that the funding should be allocated fairly and transparently to RDAs across Australia to ensure funding and resources are allocated to projects that align with regional priorities." Mr Chester said Gippsland had received funding for three small projects under the current round of BBRF.

Project inclusions

Projects from the funding include the following:

  • Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation received $375,000 towards the upgrade of the community centre in Sale
  • Maffra Neighbourhood House received $54,345 to upgrade the accessibility and capacity of their new building for the relocation of services from the hospital
  • Seaspray Surf Lifesaving Club received $76,788 for the extension of the existing clubhouse

"The construction of these projects will not only support local jobs but also boost Gippslands economy as we recover from drought, bushfires and the coronavirus," Mr Chester said.

Support and boost Gippsland economy

Mr Chester also said, "Gippsland is a vibrant region and infrastructure upgrades make it an even better place to live and work. We need to receive a fairer share of regional grants in the future and I will be making our case very strongly when the Federal Parliament returns later this month."

Funding will help upgrade Maffra Neighbourhood House with accessibility and capacity of their new building for the relocation of services from the hospital

Funding will help upgrade Maffra Neighbourhood House with accessibility and capacity of their new building for the relocation of services from the hospital

"The construction of these projects will not only support local jobs but also boost Gippslands economy as we recover from drought, bushfires and the coronavirus. Gippsland is a vibrant region and infrastructure upgrades make it an even better place to live and work. We need to receive a fairer share of regional grants in the future and I will be making our case very strongly when the Federal Parliament returns later this month." Mr Chester said.

Pictures from Darren Chester MP website, Google Maps and Google Images.


Source: http://gippsland.com/

Published by: news@gippsland.com



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