THE WILLETTON Basketball Association (WBA) expansion has been thrown into question after the Federal Coalition announced it would no longer fund the National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF) if elected.
The billion-dollar scheme will be rebranded as the Building Better Regions Fund and projects in Metropolitan areas, including Perth will no longer be eligible.
Announced on Monday by Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash it was pledged; “A re-elected Coalition Government will re-focus its billion dollar National Stronger Regions Fund to be eligible only to regional, rural and remote Australia and be broadened to include small community groups”.
Round three grants from the former fund will be granted next month, and applications closed some months ago.
The funding model will then cease.
Senator Nash said the new fund would ensure smaller councils in rural areas would not have to compete with major capital city councils for funding.
“It’s very hard for smaller and more remote community and volunteer groups or small councils to compete for funding against big capital city councils who have the ability to employ consultants to write grant applications,” she said.
The WBA had pinned its hopes on round four of the funding model to enable a $10 million expansion, and on Tuesday the City of Canning pledged $40,000 to help them with their NSRF application .
City of Canning Deputy Mayor Lindsay Holland said he was sad and disappointed to learn of the end NSRF funding and pledged to work towards securing other funding.
“I’m very disappointed (NSRF) has been terminated in it’s present form… I can’t speak for the WBA but it will just mean looking to source other funds elsewhere where we can,” he said.
Outspoken WBA supporter and Bannister Ward councillor Ben Kunze said he had hopes for the future of the stadium through other funding sources.
“Given council had committed support to the WBA’s grant application, it’s unfortunate to now learn that the conditions have changed. I am hopeful however that the WBA can identify an alternative funding source, so that the project may proceed,” he said.
Canning acting-chief executive Garry Adams said the council’s pledge for $40,000 would remain on the table for the WBA, but said a further resolution would be required to recommit $2.2 million to any new funding source.
“Council has shown its commitment to WBA by putting $40,000 in the budget to assist the WBA to do the work necessary to prepare an application for any funding that does become available,” he said.
“As per the council resolution, the amount of $2.2 million was to be the City’s commitment to enable the WBA to apply for NSRF funding. It also needed a commitment from the State of the same amount. A further Council resolution would be required to commit funding to enable application for a different funding source.”