Heritage project hangs on Budget

Saskia AdystiGreat Southern Herald

The Shire of Katanning is waiting for a formal response from Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan on whether the Katanning Heritage Centre Project has guaranteed funding in the State Budget.

Katanning Shire chief executive Julian Murphy said the Heritage Centre Project was never subject to Budget funding, but Ms MacTiernan had asked the Shire to review the project earlier in July and find $3 million worth of savings for it to continue.

“We agreed that we will find $3 million in savings for the State — which we have done after a review of the project. We have made that submission to the Minister and now we’re just waiting for a formal response,” Mr Murphy said

“We’re confident that the Minister will give the approval for the project. When she said that’s all she’s looking for, she will be true to her word and stick to that.”

The Heritage Centre Project involves two business cases that have been combined under one project.

It includes the Welcome Precinct Project to refurbish the All-ages playground as well as the Piesse Park Redevelopment Project to build new residential housing around Piesse Lake. The total project cost is estimated to be $16 million.

Meanwhile, the biggest project Katanning will miss out on will be the $21 million Great Southern Housing Initiative Project that was allocated by the previous government through Royalties for Regions —this project has officially been scrapped from the State’s Budget.

“Katanning was going to be the lead Shire for that project and we’re going to handle the finances, but we had confirmation today from the director of Regional Development that project won’t be going ahead,” Mr Murphy said.

Great Southern towns such as Katanning, Narrogin, Kulin, Wickepin, Cuballing, Broomehill-Tambellup, Cranbrook, Gnowangerup, Jerramungup, Kent, Kojonup and Ongerup will miss out on housing projects that have already received $10 million in funding from the Federal Government.

Member for Roe Peter Rundle was disappointed with the outcome and said the McGowan Government had chosen to fund Perth election promises and use Royalties for Regions to pay for regular government services in the bush rather than keeping seniors connected with their regional communities.

But Ms MacTiernan said many Royalties for Regions-funded aged accommodation projects were funded in the last months of the former government and were not election promises.

“We will be undertaking a significant review of aged accommodation projects right across regional WA and have allocated $22.7 million for a new aged accommodation program because this project needs to be a reasonable ask on taxpayers,” she said.

The 12 shires that were involved in the Great Southern Housing Initiative Project will meet some time in the next week to discuss options under the new funding.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails