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Rudd Government bows to pressure and back flips on Regional Partnerships funding.

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Media Contact: Richard Lehnert 02 66 52 62 33 0437 262243 Canberra: 62 77 4447

Luke Hartsuyker MP Federal Member for Cowper


May 28, 2008

Rudd Government bows to pressure and back flips on Regional Partnerships funding

The Rudd Government has backed down on its decision to withdraw offers of funding for two important community projects in the seat of Cowper, Federal MP Luke Hartsuyker announced today.

On Budget night Regional Development Minister Anthony Albanese axed the Regional Partnerships programme and announced that any community groups which had not signed a contract with the Government would not receive funds.

Coffs Harbour’s Sportz Central and Valla Community Hall had received offers of funding under the Regional Partnerships programme but had yet to sign a contract.

Since the Budget announcement the Rudd Government has been under pressure to honour the original offer funding.

The Nationals’ Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, raised the matter in Federal Parliament this week, highlighting the important role of the Valla Community Hall and Sportz Central in their respective communities.

“After having claimed that the Regional Partnerships programme was a rort the Minister has been forced into an embarrassing back flip,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Today he has announced that 86 of the 116 projects that had originally received offers of funding will be given further time to sign a contract with the Government.

“The Minister has said the renewed offer will apply to not-for-profit organisations so I look forward to the Department contacting the management committees at both Sportz Cental and Valla Hall and organising for a contract to be signed. This back flip highlights that the Minister never took the time to look at the projects which had received offers of funding.

“For six months he claimed he was reviewing and re-examining the projects but in reality he did nothing.

“It was not until the merits of many of these projects were highlighted in the media that the Minister decided to actually look at the projects. In less than a week he has concluded 86 of the 116 projects affected deserved to have the offer of funding honoured.

“This has been disgracefully managed by the Minister. He has caused the community groups much grievance. His treatment of them is nothing short of appalling.”