GRIFFITH Regional Theatre looks set to lose $300,000 funding promised by the Labor government shortly before the federal election.
The Regional Development Australia round 5A grant allocated the funds to the community, which were to be used for new seating and carpeting throughout the theatre.
But since the Coalition was appointment to federal government, it is unlikely Labor’s promise will be honoured.
The retraction joins a long list across the Riverina, including $500,000 promised to Griffith Post School Options to build a new facility.
Council director of business, cultural and financial services Max Turner said he had not yet received confirmation the funds would not be forthcoming and for the time being, he was holding out hope.
“We are concerned that this might not be honoured and that would be a big disappointment,” Mr Turner said.
“We did have an announcement by the previous Labor government but that was subject to that government being re-elected.”
Mr Turner said the refurbishment was still included in council’s 10-year financial plan, but without the grant it would be much more difficult to source the funds.
“The RDA funding would’ve been ideal and we’ll still wait and see whether we get partial funding from the new government,” he said.
“We can only wait and see what will happen and we’ll be lobbying hard for it.”
Nationals member for Riverina Michael McCormack said the funding simply had not been budgeted and it was not likely to be forthcoming.
“It’s hard to cut something that wasn’t there in the first place,” Mr McCormack said.
“You can’t spend money you don’t have.”
Mr McCormack said for the grants to be honoured, contracts had to be exchanged between the government and council and work had to have begun – which it had not.
He said the government was in caretaker mode when the funding was allocated and the promises should not have been made.
The Coalition plans to introduce a $1 billion “building stronger regions” fund, but that will not begin until 2015.