Grants program needs big shake-up

April 06, 2017

Moira Shire councillors are pushing for a shake up of the way the council's community grants are allocated.

Moira Shire councillors have called for a ‘‘real shake-up’’ of the council’s community grant program selection process.

At its March meeting, council approved a list of 45 projects to receive funding, from a total of 70 which applied to the scheme last year.

Cr Kevin Bourke said he was even less happy than last year about the outcome of the process.

‘‘I’ve got a major issue, and I expressed this last year, in the way in which some of these decisions were made and that we as councillors had very little input — virtually zilch,’’ he said.

‘‘There is a review due and I seriously think we need to have a major look at this. As Cr (Ed) Cox has expressed, funds will be limited.

‘‘I think the criteria adopted and the way we’ve gone about it does need a pretty fair shake-up.

‘‘I do congratulate those who have been successful and I feel tremendously for those who haven’t been successful.

‘‘I’ve been trying to encourage a lot of our groups to attend the community workshops, but I feel there’s a lot of people, particularly in the smaller clubs, who put a lot of time and effort in, sitting at the kitchen table until 2am to be disappointed.’’

Cr Cox said volunteer groups did a lot of back work to maintain many of council’s assets.

‘‘These grants, some of them are major, up to $15000, and some of them are smaller, up to $2000, and to whichever group you belong to, $2500 can be quite a significant amount of money,’’ he said.

‘‘We all understand that sometimes volunteers might not get the ‘i’s dotted or the ‘t’s crossed in their application, so all I ask is that the staff of the shire work in closely with our community groups if we can see any improvements in the future.

‘‘As we know, funding is going to get a lot harder to get hold of in the future across the whole government sector.

‘‘As we can see in this rollout of this program, it’s gone right across the shire. Whether you’re a small community from the west end of the shire, or up to the east end of the shire, they’ve been included.’’

Cr Cox acknowledged there would be disappointment as some organisations had missed out on funding.

Cr Peter Lawless said the grants were an important source of funding for community groups.

‘‘These grants are very significant to a lot of our community groups and I think with some discussion we’ve had over time I think we need to refine the way we do some of these,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of these are volunteers groups who do a terrific job for our communities. It’s going to get tougher and tougher for them in the future.’’

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