Fund committee chief backs cash knockback

THE HEAD of a committee which knocked back funding for Colac’s Central Reserve says the committee’s decision was independent and logical.

Bruce Anson is the head of the Barwon south-west committee of the Federal Government’s Regional Development Australia Fund.

The committee knocked back a bid for $625,000 out of the $200-million fund for new netball courts and lights and a revamped playing surface at Central Reserve.

Mr Anson said the committee made the right decision by selecting projects at Geelong, Warrnambool and near Heywood to progress to the next stage of the RDAF process.

He said the three projects were “very, very worthwhile”, addressed criteria for funding and fit in with a south-west Victorian regional plan.

Mr Anson said the committee’s nine members voted independently on each project, with the scores tallied up to determine which three would progress to the “full application” stage.

“We had criteria. Going off the top of my head it’s how does it comply to the regional plan? Does it affect more than one municipality? Is it ready to proceed,” he said.

“There were five criteria they had to go through. Each of those was ranked individually by the members of the RDAF committee.

“The scores were accumulated up and the top three were the top three.

“The other thing that should be noticed is where an individual is associated with an application, they didn’t get to vote on that project.”

Mr Anson said he was unsure where Central Reserve ranked out of the 13 projects which the committee voted on.

He said the three the committee selec-ted had region-wide benefits.

“If we look at the road in Glenelg, it’s to facilitate the timber harvest,” he said.

“Which is going to generate something like 400,000 B-doubles into Portland a year delivering woodchips, and $400 to 500 million in annual exports, and it’s a new industry.”

An Elcho drainage project at Geelong would help fast-track an industrial development, which would create 10,000 jobs.

Airfield upgrades at Warrnambool would allow Origin Energy to establish a logistics centre in the city, injecting $40 to 50 million of annual spending.

“Anyone who went through and looked at the projects would think we haven’t done a bad job,” Mr Anson said.

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