Speeches Community facilities | September 06, 2017

Adjournment - Kaniva Community Hub

Victorian Parliament - 6 September 2017 - Ms KEALY (Lowan) — (13 020) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Regional Development. The action that I seek is for the government to provide further drought relief funding for Kaniva Community Hub to clear the $371 000 debt now passed to the Kaniva‑Leeor United Football Club as a result of a significant shortfall in state government funding. There is no doubt the Kaniva Community Hub is a fabulous facility. I was honoured to recently tour the building with members of the football and netball clubs. These people are extremely proud of their new facility. They have worked exceptionally hard to make it a reality, but they are extremely troubled that this unexpected debt which the Kaniva‑Leeor United Club has now inherited as a result of this project may wipe out the club within five years.

Kaniva‑Leeor United Football Club, as the main users of the hub, are liable for any excesses on the build. The football club, netball club, hockey club, racecourse reserve, the A & P Society and community fundraising efforts have raised in excess of $207 000, surpassing their original financial commitment to the project — a truly amazing effort for a small community experiencing financial hardship. Community members have also contributed thousands of hours of in‑kind support to help make the hub a reality, and I thank them for their commitment and tireless contribution to the project. However, there remains a funding shortfall of $371 000. The state drought response funding provided was less than half of the total build cost and was simply not enough to support such a significant building project in a community ravaged by drought for consecutive years.

The original state funding for the project was provided as part of the drought response package. As recently as 10 August the minister stated:

The drought has had a huge impact on communities right across Victoria and this new community hub in Kaniva will be a huge boost for all in the region.

Community members are deeply concerned that this project may not in fact be a boost and that the weight of the residual debt may in fact wipe out the football club. This would be a disaster for a community already struggling to get back on their feet after years of drought. I therefore ask the minister to save the Kaniva‑Leeor United Football Club and provide further drought support funding so that the community is relieved from the financial stress of being left with a debt that could break some of the most important community sporting clubs and community organisations in the district.

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