Community Resource Centre funding cuts

Community members Grant Macdonald, Leeanne Kenworthy, David Williams with Greenbushes CRC Coordinator Nicole Ward and volunteer Terry Somerton. Photo: Lee Steinbacher
Community members Grant Macdonald, Leeanne Kenworthy, David Williams with Greenbushes CRC Coordinator Nicole Ward and volunteer Terry Somerton. Photo: Lee Steinbacher

The services offered by the Greenbushes Community Resource Centre are under threat following more planned regional budget cuts.

Greenbushes CRC is amongst a network of 105 regional community resource centres that provide a range of services, from government utilities to local information and community support services.

The McGowan Government announced earlier this year to cut $5 million in funding from the centres, due to take effect from July next year.

Regional Development Minister, Alanna MacTiernan, has proposed a change that will see a two-tiered system put in place, with Greenbushes being assessed as a Tier 2.

This means that they will lose 50 per cent of their current state government funding, from $100,000 per annum, to just $50,000.

The funding tiers have been allocated on factors such as population size, distance from other regional centres and proximity to other CRC’s. As Greenbushes is within a 30km distance to Bridgetown, it will have bigger funding cuts than the Bridgetown Centre.

Member for Warren-Blackwood, Terry Redman, says the Regional Development Minister’s plan to pit Community Resource Centres against each other to fight for funding will ultimately fail regional communities.

“These harsh funding cuts to the CRC’s across WA have left a bitter taste in the mouth of many regional communities,” Mr Redman said.

“The Minister is attempting to drive a wedge between regional communities by saying there is room for negotiation, but additional funding will only come at the expense of another centre’s allocation.”

Greenbushes CRC Coordinator Nicole Ward is remaining optimistic in the midst of the upcoming budget restraints, saying that the committee will continue to look for new ways to find the resources needed to ensure the centre can continue to provide the services and possibly expand into the future.

“We provide a number of government services as well as many vital community activities and resources, so we are keen to work out new ways to help ensure we can continue within the community of Greenbushes,” Ms Ward said.

“We are currently funded to operate for 31 hours per week, but with the budget cuts, that is likely to be reduced to 18 hours each week, which raises a number of concerns, including that we may no longer be able to provide enough hours to cover the traineeship that we currently offer.”

A recent new addition to the centre has been the Greenbushes Community Shed, which is now operating and is available to anyone in the community to use.

Other services from the centre include school holidays programs, specialist services such as optometrists and natural health therapists, as well as a library service and computer access.

“The Community Shed originally started as a Men’s Shed, but it is available for everyone in the community to use and is really used by more females than males at the moment,” Ms Ward said.

“We are also planning to open up a youth zone area, which is great, as we already have 28 young people signed up as members of the centre and there really is nowhere else for them to hang out in this community at the moment.”

“I believe that the CRC is very much needed in our community and we will continue to look for ways to ensure we can remain open for the hours that are needed’” she said.

“I would like to thank all of the businesses and community members who do support this service and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”