Growing Suburbs Fund Budget Announcement Brings Relief for Melbourne’s Outer Areas
TUESDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2020
Melbourne’s Interface Councils group is reassured that the Victorian Government has provided $75 million in funding for the Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF) in the 2020-21 State Budget today.
Each Interface Council – along with each of the six Peri-Urban Councils – will again be eligible for a maximum allocation of ten per cent of the total funding pool.
Interface Spokesperson Cr Karen Egan of Nillumbik Shire Council said today’s GSF announcement was a moment of respite that will offer hope to over 1.6 million people living in the outer Melbourne region.
“These local projects go a long way to reduce disadvantage and improve health and wellbeing outcomes at a grassroots level in those areas that have been hit hard by the pandemic. This additional funding will have a positive impact on people’s everyday lives as we move to a COVID normal environment,” Cr Egan said.
Since its inception in 2015, the Growing Suburbs Fund has not only provided social support networks for disengaged young people, fragile families and isolated older people, it has also allowed for more than 6000 local jobs.
“Our young people are now losing study and job opportunities because of the evolving mental health crisis. Local jobs and community networks, through sporting clubs for example, are now more critical than ever.
“In Nillumbik, for example, the $1.4 million Eltham Multi-Use Sports Community Facility is a huge boost for the community. It means hundreds of people can now play their sport of choice on the new courts – including wheelchair tennis. There were previously no netball courts in Eltham so it’s a gamechanger for kids.”
Funding for the Growing Suburbs Fund is important to the group because it means projects happen long before Councils have the capacity to complete them due to a huge backlog of community infrastructure.
The GSF is an established program and every dollar invested by State Government is matched or doubled by other funding sources.
“This amount of leveraging possible through the GSF is a real benefit for the State Government. The returns far exceed other funding programs, such as the Community Infrastructure Loans Scheme, where the State Government contributes up to 90 per cent of the cost of a project,” Cr Egan said.
“Many people have lost their livelihoods this year. Now is the time for bolstering the social support networks that this fund provides – for young and old.”
This announcement comes after a $25 million commitment to the fund in June and the initial inclusion of the six Peri-Urban Councils to the fund.
For more information, visit the Interface Councils Website: https://www.interfacecouncils.com.au/
Interface Councils Media Contact: Zoe Forbes via firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 8317 0111