A GRIFFITH service helping improve the lives of disabled residents is set to realise a dream come true.
On Monday afternoon in Wagga, Minister for Regional Australia Catherine King announced $500,000 would be provided to Griffith Post School Options (GPSO) to build a new multi-purpose centre.
GPSO first opened its doors 21 years ago and currently works out of an older-style home in Binya Street.
GPSO service manager Roy Catanzariti said the new facility would help provide training, employment pathways and respite care to residents with a disability right across the region.
“It’s been three years that we’ve been trying our hardest to get this grant,” Mr Catanzariti said.
“We’ve been renting for such a long time – this facility is a must for the Griffith community.
“We’ve grown so much in the last few years, three-and-a-half years ago we had nine clients, now we have 30 and that’s going to grow again next year.
“This is a dream come true for us and we are excited about the future. It will allow greater community participation and acceptance.”
In November 2011, GPSO secured a 20-year lease from council on a piece of land in Olympic Street, on which they will be permitted to build the facility.
The new multi-purpose centre will be built between Griffith PCYC and former The Area News building.
The Labor candidate for Riverina Tim Kurylowicz said the funding would help provide better services in a better facility.
He said there was no doubt the funding had been signed off before the government went into caretaker mode and it was not merely an election promise.
“This is more important than playing politics,” he said.
“Post School Options’ staff and volunteers deserve better than to keep working in a rickety old house.
“I’ve worked in disability support and understand what a difference this new facility will make to families right across the Western Riverina.”
However, National MP Michael McCormack was more cautious given the government was in caretaker mode.
“If it’s not an election promise, it’s a great thing,” he said
“It doesn’t matter if it’s Liberal, National or Labor, if funds are coming to the Riverina, it’s a good thing.
“Labor is going around saying it’s in the budget but without access to the books you can’t keep Labor to its word. I’m going to err on the side of caution.”
If it does come to fruition the project will double the capacity of the GPSO from 25 to 50 clients attending from across the region and will create between 15 and 20 new jobs.