By TONY FOSTER*
BRIGHTON Council has long been successful in gaining Commonwealth and State Government grant funding for important community projects in our municipality.
And deservedly so. As a diverse, outer suburban and rural municipality, we do not have the advantages of a central business district or major industry to provide the rate base to finance everything that we, as a Council, would like to do.
So, we have to be clever in how we identify and present community projects to convince the Commonwealth and State that they are worthy of funding.
Of course, Council must do its part, and in the coming months, we will match the $2.4 million in grants that Brighton has been successful in winning and have also attracted more than $300,000 in other funding. This means that our community will benefit from some $6 million in major project investment and our community will be able to enjoy these facilities for many years to come. On top of all this, Council is also investing in a range of other community projects that will further enhance life in our municipality.
Full details of the grants won and the projects to benefit, as well as our own initiatives, are detailed in this issue of Brighton Community News. They include the Brighton Streetscape, Bridgewater Parkland, a number of pathways and shelters, the Covehill Bridge, the Brighton Bowls Club, the Old Beach Jetty and a number of developments at the Cris Fitzpatrick Park.
All of these projects will add immeasurably to the quality of life in our municipality and provide significant benefits for our community.
But we cannot afford to take our success in winning grant funding for granted, or assume that the State and Federal Governments will give us money as a matter of right. It is an extremely competitive process.
We have to work hard to develop sound grant applications and then convince the funding authorities that our projects are worthwhile, needed and superior to applications coming from other communities in Tasmania and for Commonwealth funding, from around Australia.
For this, I must give considerable credit to Brighton Council’s management team and staff, as well as to the various consultants and community representatives who have contributed to developing our professional grant applications. Credit is also due to Brighton Councillors who have lobbied hard to convince State and Federal politicians on all sides of politics that our projects are worthy of support.
In recent years, Brighton Council staff have developed and improved their skills in identifying projects worthy of funding support and in presenting professional and superior grant applications that have secured this important funding for our municipality.
We are a relatively small council, but the effort and expertise of our people sees us more than match other municipalities, and even cities, in securing government funding for community projects.
But I believe we have been successful because our Council and community have been prepared to play a part. Too often councils have an expectation of gaining government funding as a right and do little in support. Brighton Council believes that we have a responsibility as well and by providing some of the funding, we are better placed to see our grant applications approved. That has certainly proved to be a fruitful approach.
As a result, the next 12 months or so will see considerable activity in Brighton as these projects are progressed and brought on stream.
As a Council, we will not be resting on our laurels, but will continue to look for worthy community projects where we can gain funding support from the Commonwealth and State Governments, as well as from other funding sources.
The combination of Council, State and Commonwealth funding to deliver important public projects is a positive demonstration of the three tiers of government working together to benefit the community. That is very much the way government should work.
*Tony Foster is Mayor of Brighton municipality