Regional Community Resource Centres are celebrating this morning following an announcement from the McGowan Government to continue centre funding at the full $13 million each year.
Each CRC will continue to be fully funded despite an announcement earlier this year that would see reduced spending at the centres by $5 million.
The cuts were to be implemented in July 2019, but has today been reversed.
The State Government said following extensive consultation and a review of the CRC program, they have decided to continue to fund Community Resource Centres to the full amount.
Although they say the review of the program did highlight some areas that could be improved.
Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan said after reviewing the program ‘it is clear CRC funding should continue’.
"We will continue to fully fund CRCs to the tune of $13 million per year, ensuring CRCs can deliver important services to regional communities,” Minister MacTiernan said.
"We want to see the CRC program strengthened, with a real focus on getting the most out of the traineeship program to drive training opportunities across regional WA."
The Nationals WA have praised the decision.
“This is a win for regional communities and testament to the resilience of regional people,” Leader Mia Davies said.
“This is a win for every person who took the time to sign a petition, to send an email to their local MP, write a letter to a Minister or attend a rally. This is a victory for people power.
“The McGowan Government – and not for the first time – underestimated the strength and determination of regional communities. Labor thought they could get away with these mean funding cuts and that no one would notice.
“Regional Western Australia has again proven a force to be reckoned with and I sincerely hope this Labor Government thinks twice next time they sit around the table and discuss what regional services they can cut to fund their extravagant election commitments in Perth.”
Ms Davies said the McGowan Government had put many regional communities through months of angst and uncertainty.
“The pain they have created was real and unnecessary,” Ms Davies said. “This is no way to run a Government – the Premier and the Regional Development Minister should have taken the time to consult before slashing and burning.”
Ms Davies said CRCs provided a range of essential government services, professional development, employment and traineeship opportunities as well as supporting a massive volunteer force.
“Since the cuts were announced last year, our team has supported regional communities embark on a campaign to make sure the McGowan Government understood how vital CRCs were to regional towns,” she said.
As part of the “Support Our CRCs” campaign, more than 5,300 signatures had been collected from all corners of the State, resulting in 80 petitions being tabled in State Parliament.
Despite the backflip decision, during a visit to Northam in May, Minister MacTiernan said the cuts to CRCs needed to be done in order to save costs for other projects.
“We’re got to show that we’ve got fiscal discipline,” she said.
“If we’re going to be able to do these really, really important things, like continuing to invest in research and development, so we’ve actually got an industry in this country, we need to tighten up in the budget in other areas.”
Minister MacTiernan said there was the possibility for some negotiation of funding at the margins, after feedback was given but where one group gained funds, another would lose them.
“At the margins it’s possible, but what we are trying to do is look at getting a proper spread of these services,” she said.
“In some areas there are huge concentrations of CRCs and in other areas there are not, so what we’re trying to do is be fair to everyone.
“We don’t want to close any of these facilities.”