Most of Townsville’s community groups were locked out of the Regional Development Australia Fund process on November 3, a week before the Minister’s office was encouraging them, through the Townsville Bulletin, to apply for the next round.
Hundreds of regional community groups were rejected for Round One funding in favour of applications from organisations like premiership winning AFL club, the Geelong Cats, who were awarded $10million for an upgrade to Skilled Stadium.
Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen, said the rules had changed for Round Two, meaning many regional community groups would not even be allowed to apply.
“This is the fund that is supposed to develop regional Australia,” he said. “But the government has invented application criteria that prevent regional organisations from applying, while allowing applications from the capital cities.
“This government has proved that it hates the regions and will do whatever it can to take all the revenue from our region and give back as little as possible.”
Key changes for the second round of funding include:
· Not-for-profit organisations must have a minimum annual income of $1.5million.
· Preference for applications that demonstrate partnership funding of 1:1 for grant requests of $5million or less and 1:2 for grant requests of more than $5million.
· Projects in capital cities can now be funded.
Mr Christensen said these criteria actually discriminated against regional organisations.
“The Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) should not be funding anything in a capital city at all,” he said.
“Now the Labor Government has opened the door for projects in capital cities but they have closed the door for regional not-for-profit groups that don’t have a huge cash reserve or millions of dollars in turnover.
“This is an absolute insult to North Queensland and all the other regions in Australia.”