WAFarmers President Tony York has described the State Government’s plan to cut Community Resource Centre (CRC) funding by 40 per cent as being a “massive disservice” to regional communities.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will undertake an internal departmental evaluation on how the funding cuts will be applied across WA’s 105-centre strong CRC program, with an options paper to be delivered to Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan on 30 June.
It is understood the cuts will save the State Government $5 million per year; a very small saving when compared the loss of resources from the CRCs.
WAFarmers President Tony York said government needed to go back to the drawing board.
“Community Resource Centres are a vital service for regional, rural and remote communities, with the centres providing access to services, information and government, as well as undertaking development activities,” Mr York said.
“With telecommunications not as accessible to many regional communities, particularly farmers who may live out of town, the convenience of CRCs are vital to the bush.
“People can come into town and use their local centres to access everyday resources such as Medicare and MyGov, transport and vehicle services, online bill payments and utilising internet services.
“They are also an important social hub with members of the community using the centres as both formal and informal meeting places, as well as being a central social point for people in remote communities.
“WAFarmers is aware that the government has not consulted with communities about the need of CRCs, and with more and more people leaving the regions, these centres will be more important than ever for those living in country WA.
“We encourage the government to consult with communities and re-assess its decision to enforce a 40 per cent cut to funding.”