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Royal Life Saving sees Federal budget’s new Growing Regions Program as an opportunity for regional pools

Royal Life Saving sees Federal budget’s new Growing Regions Program as an opportunity for regional pools
May 12, 2023

Royal Life Saving Society - Australia has welcomed the new Growing Regions Program announced in this week’s Federal budget for its potential support local government and community groups in regional Australia to upgrade and replace ageing aquatic facilities.

The Federal Government grants will provide between $500,000 and $15 million to cover 50% or more of eligible expenditure and can be used for funding community infrastructure including community pools.

The State of Aquatic Facility Infrastructure Report 2022 conducted by Royal Life Saving found that across Australia, 500 pools will reach their end-of-life by 2030, with $8 billion required to replace them.

Encouraging local governments and community groups to prioritise applications for pools, Royal Life Saving Society - Australia Chief Executive, Justin Scarr stated “community pools are more than just places to swim; they are part of the fabric of the community, particularly in regional areas where they provide connection, employment and recreation opportunities.

“We know that local government, particularly in regional and remote areas, has struggled to find the funding to replacing aging pools even though they are a critical community resource.

“Increasingly we are seeing local governments having to consider closing pools all together as they start to need significant investment for repairs, or outright replacement.

“Aquatic facilities are a key contributor to drowning prevention activities, particularly in regional and inland locations. This is why aquatic facilities are a key feature of the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2030.

“From a social, health and economic perspective we know aquatic facilities make an enormous difference to the communities they serve and there is a quantifiable positive return on investment.”

The Growing Regions Program replaces the previous Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, which was not continued in this budget.

Applications for the Growing Regions Program open on Wednesday 5th July and close on Tuesday 1st August 2023 at 5pm.

Incorporated non-profit organisations, First Nations Community Controlled Organisations and local government agencies or bodies in regional areas can apply.

Projects which have already accessed Commonwealth funding, or which have commenced construction will not be eligible. Successful projects must be completed by 31st December 2025.

Feasibility studies are not eligible for funding.

Click here for full details on the grants.

Image: Parkes Aquatic Centre.

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