The McGowan Government’s decision to slash CRC funding would have resulted in the closure of centres across regional WA, a review has found.
The Minister for Regional Development tabled a report containing the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s review of the Community Resource Centre network yesterday under questioning from Nationals Deputy Leader Jacqui Boydell.
The review, which cost $38,000 to compile, found the impact of Labor’s proposal to cut CRC funding in half meant “closure (was) a likely outcome”.
“We did not need a $38,000 review to tell us that a number of CRCs would be unable to survive having their funding slashed in half,” Leader Mia Davies said.
“Most small organisations would be unable to absorb such a devastating blow to their budget.”
Ms Davies was extremely critical of Labor’s handling of the CRC review.
“The review was called for by the Minister in April 2017, yet before it even got off the ground the Minister announced that funding for CRCs would be cut from $13 million to $8 million annually,” she said.
“Then, with the review still incomplete, the Minister announced a new system where CRCs would be split into ‘funding tiers’ based on proximity to other centres and population size.
“Now, the Minister has thrown all of that out the window and back-flipped on the original decision to cut funding. Meanwhile, $38,000 of taxpayer money was burnt in the process.”
The review found the CRC network “is strong … throughout the State, and to dilute this would be detrimental to the programs capacity to touch point with many smaller and less accessible locations in the regions.”
It concluded that during The Nationals time in Government the “injection of funds into the CRC network over the past nine years has provided the network with many opportunities to enhance the services delivered by each CRC.”
Ms Boydell said the Labor Government had created untold panic in communities who feared their CRC would be lost forever.
“Labor’s approach to CRCs has been a dog’s breakfast from day one,” Ms Boydell said. “It is no wonder regional West Australians don’t trust the McGowan Government.”
Ms Davies said with the CRC backflip now secured, The Nationals were continuing to fight for the reversal of Labor’s cruel cuts to regional education, including the closure of Moora Residential College and camp schools.