In its third year of existence, the Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF) has outdone itself again.
Technically, based on the 2017/18 State Budget allocation, the GSF was to provide $25 million worth of community infrastructure grants in 2017 and then again in 2018. But with more than 90 applications totalling more than $130 million submitted in the most recent funding round, the full $50 million has been committed to 40 essential projects across the 10 Interface Council areas, in the first year. Projects include;
Cardinia Cultural Centre Redevelopment (Cardinia Shire)
Ramleigh Family and Community Centre (City of Casey)
Arena Recreation Reserve development in Roxburgh Park (Hume City Council)
Connecting Wallan Neighbourhoods – Connecting Neighbourhood Families (Mitchell Shire Council)
Dromana Preschool Expand & Upgrade Project (Mornington Peninsula Shire Council)
Melton Central Community Centre Redevelopment (Melton City Council)
Eltham Central Precinct Community Sports Hub (Nillumbik Shire Council)
Regional All Abilities Play space (City of Whittlesea)
Truganina East Integrated Family Learning Centre (Wyndham City Council)
Burrinja Cultural Centre Redevelopment, Upwey (Yarra Ranges Shire Council)
The full allocation of two years of funding is an outcome that is positive for residents of Melbourne’s outer suburbs who will see the community facilities and amenities they have long been waiting for, sooner. It is an outcome that demonstrates the significant backlog in requirements. And, it reinforces the need for an increased and long-term commitment to the program to provide infrastructure that is vital to the social fabric of a community in its ability prevent issues such as disengaged youth, fragile families, isolated ageing and poor health outcomes.
By supporting the delivery of facilities and amenities that bring communities together, create strong social networks, enable local health and human service delivery and foster healthy and active lifestyles.
The Growing Suburbs Fund is a strong and positive policy that Interface Councils believe must be maintained to continue to bridge the gaps in community infrastructure that have existed for too long, and to prevent more complex and expensive intervention in infrastructure deficits and resulting social issues in the future.
Interface Councils' 2018/19 State Budget Submission asks for a long-term commitment to $50 million per annum.