Delayed boost for regional WA

After depriving regional Australia of $30 million of expenditure on the Growing Regions Program last financial year, the Albanese Government finally announced details of successful applicants today.

“Three worthy applicants in my vast electorate have been successful in Round 1 of the program, but Federal Labor has inconvenienced them and the dozen-or-so other shires and community groups that applied by taking so long to make a decision,” Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson said.

“Labor’s Federal Budget delivered little for regional WA and its leisurely approach to project assessment threw the preparation of budgets by regional local governments across Western Australia into disarray.”

Through slight-of-hand, the Federal Government pushed $30 million of budgeted Growing Regions investment that it abjectly failed to spend in the 2023-24 financial year back to 2025-26.

“It was high time the government made a decision on Round 1, as regional Australia has not seen one red cent spent from the program in the two years Mr Albanese has been in power,” Mr Wilson said.

“The three communities whose applications have been successful will no doubt be excited and very relieved.

“I warmly congratulate them, thank all shires and community groups who applied and were not funded and wish them well if they decide to apply for Round 2.”

Ahead of its bicentenary in 2026, Albany will receive $3,620,000 to build the Albany Kinjarling Connect botanic walkway in the city’s verdant Mounts area.

“Albany was the first settlement in Western Australia where Aboriginal and European people learned to live together,” Mr Wilson said.

“The scenic south coast city was WA’s first European settlement, and is gaining an international reputation as Australia’s home of the Anzacs.

“In an inclusive way, this project will help tell the story of the impact of and responses to the first planned arrival of Europeans in Western Australia, and the departure of the first fleets of Anzacs from Albany’s shores.”

Another important project, which will receive $5,201,078, is the Wanarn Community Farm in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands of the desert country of Mr Wilson’s electorate.

“This community farm will grow fresh produce to support the people of Wanarn and provide a pathway for learning and growth,” Mr Wilson said.

“That such a small community should secure such substantial funding is testament to the initiative and verve of the people of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands.”

At the other end of Mr Wilson’s electorate, in the Peel region, the Shire of Boddington will receive $500,000 to revitalise its town centre.

“Boddington is a proud place and an economic powerhouse, and this project promises to further enhance the attractiveness of the town,” he said.

Mr Wilson said he would watch the Commonwealth like a hawk toward ensuring its officers swiftly execute funding contracts and promptly meet payment milestones.

“Given the delays that have dogged this program, the Albanese Government must ensure the funded projects receive the expeditious support they require in order for the communities of the Great Southern, Goldfields and Peel regions of my electorate to gain maximum benefit from them,” he said.

 

Media contact: Chris Thomson, (08) 9842 2777; [email protected]

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