Published on : Tuesday, August 18, 2020
The City of Busselton recently decided to scale back The Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre project due to the inability of securing state government funding for the project. Over the past few months, the city was seeking $9.5 million from the state government’s $78 million recovery package to support arts and culture in Western Australia to support the development of the project.
However, with regard to a council resolution made on June 24, 2020, the budget and scope was reduced from $30.3 million to $28.5 million and excluded the creative industries hub for the moment. The council has decided to consider the outcomes of the tendering process and final pricing before determining whether the project will continue. The council can endorse a loan of $15 million over a 20 year term based on the outcomes of the tendering process council, alongside using money from reserve accounts to fund the project.
It has also been decided that any additional external funding secured by the city could also be used to reduce the loan amount. Grant Henley, Mayor, City of Busselton said in a statement that though authorities remained committed to the development of a creative industries hub, the present initiative have to be undertaken in the future. He informed that meanwhile, authorities would pursue other funding opportunities – potentially through the Federal Government which has shown great interest in and support for the project.
He mentioned that the lack of state funding for the project is highly disappointing especially because the City of Busselton is the fastest growing regional city in Western Australia and as one of the state’s biggest drawcards, it has been specifically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also shared that though $76 million of state government funding has been directed into culture and the arts across WA in the past few weeks, not one dollar has arrived in the City of Busselton despite having a ready project that would help stimulate the local economy during construction and, provide spin-off benefits to the tourism, hospitality and accommodation, events and retail sectors.
A Treasury spokesperson further added that the state government received many requests to provide funding for infrastructure proposals and acknowledged that the state government understands that the city is exploring funding opportunities. However, South West have been excluded from the outline of Western Australia’s recovery plan despite all other regions having their own detailed option.
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