Plans to upgrade the Richmond River Gun Club will receive a $14,960 boost under the Australian Government’s plan to help not-for-profit groups which the Government says were misled under the previous government’s Regional Partnerships program.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development, Gary Gray, and Federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, have announced that the Rudd Labor Government has signed a $14,960 contract with the club.

Ms Saffin said the Rudd Government’s funding will help upgrade the existing layouts and trap equipment, upgrade facilities for disabled members and introduce a new skeet layout at the Richmond River Gun Club. 

“The previous government failed to sign a contract for this project despite giving an approval,” Ms Saffin said.

Earlier this year, the Rudd Government was forced to close down Regional Partnerships after a scathing, three-volume, 1200-page report by the Australian National Audit Office.

Ms Saffin said it was clear that many groups, including the Richmond River Gun Club, had already started work based on false promises by the previous government that contracts had been finalised.

“That’s why the Rudd Government gave them the opportunity to get their contract finalised if they could meet strict requirements,” Ms Saffin said.

In order to start negotiations, the club had to demonstrate they were able to meet strict conditions and timetables.

Those conditions were:

  • The project still meets the Regional Partnerships program criteria
  • Money has already been spent or commitments entered into in good faith based on the advice from the previous government
  • They are able to meet the conditions of the original funding offer
  • For projects involving construction or requiring a tender process they are able to commence their project or complete their tender process by December 31, 2008. All other projects must commence within six weeks of contract execution
  • They are able to finalise negotiations and sign a contract by July 31, 2008.

Of the other projects in the Northern Rivers area, the Ballina Community Services Centre has been sent a final contract for signature; and the Kyogle Community Enterprise & Skills Development Centre, and Goonellabah Recreation Centre projects are at final stages of assessment to see if they meet these tough conditions.

“From next year, the Rudd Government will fund a new Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program to invest in community projects through a proper, accountable process,” Ms Saffin said.