Fears over CRC future

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Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan.
Camera IconRegional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr.

The State Government has proposed a new funding model for regional Community Resource Centres as a way to distribute the $5 million funding cut on the State’s CRC budget.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced the proposed funding model on Monday, which would fund the centres under a two-tiered system.

Several Great Southern CRCs have expressed concern about a lack of certainty on their futures.

Some CRCs will fall under Tier 1 and will receive an annual budget of $70,000 but others, with a larger community or located closely to another CRC or a major regional centre, will only receive $50,00 annually.

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Currently all CRCs are allocated $100,000 a year.

Wellstead Community Resource Centre co-ordinator Stephanie Boyd said she was devastated by the announcement.

“We're yet to figure out what the near 40 per cent reduction will exactly look like for Wellstead,” she said.

“It's likely to mean decreased opening hours, reduced access and availability of services, fewer grants gained for the community and reduced ability to provide administrative/governance support for local not-for-profits (including the fire brigade, ambulance service, combined sports club, cricket club and progress association).”

Ms MacTiernan said CRC funding blew out tremendously under the previous government.

“The total CRC operational cost of $5.9 million in 2009-10 ballooned to $13 million five years later,” she said.

Ms Boyd said funding to the CRC network increased to address the below minimum wage for CRCs workers who are mainly female.

“We are currently receiving base award rate, and to cut funding to CRCs is to financially disempower regional, rural and remote women,” she said.

“As you can appreciate, volunteers in rural, regional and remote communities are wearing up to six other volunteer hats in addition to their day jobs. To expect or imply the gap be filled by volunteers is ridiculous.”

Ms MacTiernan has since contacted Community Resource Centres to seek feedback on the recommended funding approach.

“There is no intention to close the program or to stop the funding of CRCs — we have allocated $42 million across the forward estimates for the CRCs program,” she said. “This proposal seeks to bring more equity to the system and a more sustainable funding level.”

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