Community split on resource centre

Saskia AdystiGreat Southern Herald

Katanning Community Resource Centre has lost its contract to run the centre and will no longer receive any funding from the Department of Regional Development.

Katanning CRC chairman Kim Bremner and manager Julie Bucknell expressed their dismay with a recent open tender process which resulted in the newly formed Katanning and Districts Family and Community Association (KDFCA) winning the tender to run the centre.

During the open tender process, Katanning CRC had listed the Shire of Katanning as one of its referees.

But only after the tender process did the CRC realise the KDFCA was chaired by the Shire of Katanning president Liz Guidera.

The KDFCA was registered with ASIC on February 16 and the closing date of the Katanning CRC open tender was February 17.

Ms Bucknell was baffled when she found out they had lost their tender to one of their own referees.

KDFCA board member Caroline Robinson dismissed the CRC’s complaints and clarified that the Shire and the KDFCA were two separate entities.

The KDFCA board has acknowledged it has to form a fully functioning CRC in the next three months, but has chosen to run the centre at a new space, the Old Katanning Hotel on Austral Terrace.

When asked why they had not chosen to run their service from the current centre, Ms Robinson said it was mainly because the Old Katanning Hotel was close to the Katanning Regional Business Association office.

“As part of the CRC funding, CRC have to deliver their services on economic development,” she said.

“So there’s a natural fit if they’re sitting in an office next door to the KRBA.”

The new CRC would continue to offer the traditional CRC services that the Katanning community were accustomed to, but would have to review some of their previous delivery model.

“I supposed the way to look at it is just like looking at two different businesses and when one business has been sold, the new owner could do what they see is the most appropriate for the place,” Ms Robinson said.

The current CRC management have decided to operate their services to the community as an unfunded CRC.

However, they are still unsure if they’re able to stay in their current premises.

Come October, there’s a possibility of two community centres existing in Katanning.

The KDFCA — which also manages the $6.1 million Early Childhood Hub project — would run one and the Katanning Community Resource Centre Inc. which has been running the current CRC would run the second centre.

The Katanning CRC was one out of three CRCs in WA placed under an open tender agreement.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan is currently reviewing all projects that are funded through Royalties for Regions.

Many remain doubtful, with the future of regional Community Resource Centres in question after the State Government shortened their contracts from three years to 18 months.

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

Sign up for our emails