A FORMER Moorabool Shire mayor has condemned the council’s intention to exclude the CFA and SES from a community grant scheme.
Moorabool Shire Council’s drafted changes to the $140,000 Community Grants Program will prevent the CFA, SES, primary and secondary schools, churches and political parties from applying for grants from the program.
Former mayor Michael Tudball – a CFA board member and 33 year volunteer at Bacchus Marsch CFA – said that the move proved the council no longer considered the organisations as part of the community.
“If these are for community grants for community strengthening, then I draw that the council doesn’t see them as part of the community any more,” Mr Tudball said.
“This is about excluding a major group of volunteers.”
Mr Tudball expressed extreme disappointment on behalf of the CFA and believed that Moorabool Shire Council was the first Victorian council to exclude the CFA from community grants.
“There is 22 fire brigades, one SES unit made up of 3000 volunteers who are ratepayers of their local community and look after their municipality.
“To exclude them from being eligible for a small community grant... I mean they are the single largest volunteer group in their municipality.”
Moorabool Shire Council mayor Pat Toohey said the specified organisations should be receiving adequate funding from a state and federal level.
“To continually expect local government to subsidise what state and federal government should be paying for is expecting local tax payers to cough up more money,” Cr Toohey said.
“They should be stepping up to the plate on these critical areas of community support and targeting areas in need.
“A small program is not suitable to apply for such funding, which is very targeted to get little initiatives off the ground.”
Cr Toohey said the recently introduced Fire Services Levy should provide adequate support to the CFA without the need for further grants.