Funding pledge

The State Government’s $2.5m funding pledge for the Mt Barker sports hub is welcome news for the Hills community.
Healthy communities are often characterised by vibrant and active sporting cultures and the Government’s latest contribution will help this to be maintained in the Hills.
The State Labor Government gave the green light for the expansion of Mt Barker in 2010, and it’s good to see that the Minister for Recreation and Sport recognises that his government has a responsibility to provide the facilities needed to support that growth.
This is not the first time the Government has contributed funding to the sports hub project, with just over $1m already contributed for the purchase of the land and a concept plan for the project.
However, the Labor Party must ensure it is not caught behind when it comes to helping develop and maintain a host of local needs under pressure from the growth.
Over the past few months the region has received funding pledges for both health and sports services, as the Weatherill Government responds to the pressure of regional leaders, politicians and members of the community, who are crying out for better infrastructure and community services.
But the region is still in desperate need of other facilities including a regional swimming centre, road upgrades, more health services and support for local business growth and job creation.
It is important our State Government anticipates these needs rather than responding to them only when the community desperately petitions for them.
With a State election set to go ahead early next year and a Federal election the year after, now is precisely the right time for community groups and councils to pressure all political parties to not only recognise the needs of Hills communities, but ensure they make firm, timely funding pledges to support our rapidly growing region.
With what the experts are calling a ‘challenging’ State election in Hills seats and the region showing all the hallmarks of more marginal electorates, the community is in a position to reap the rewards of the political process, which, whether we like it or not, almost always degenerates to buying votes with funding promises.
Bring it on! We’ve been forgotten for too long.

For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.