Tuesday 17 September 2019

Hansard of the Legislative Council

Tasmanian Community Fund


[11.23 a.m.]
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, with state and federal governments being urged by the Reserve Bank Governor to inject more money into stagnating communities, the Tasmanian Community Fund continues to play its small, but for us Tasmanians very significant, role.

Since 2000, it has spent millions funding a wide range of community projects.  They have not been massive infrastructure projects, but they have been very important to the Tasmanian community.  As we heard in our regular September briefing by the Tasmanian Community Fund last Thursday, everything is tickety-boo and in good hands with Sally Darke in the chairperson's role.  Lola Cowle is the chief executive officer - I think that might be her title; something like that, but also I notice on the board -

Ms Rattray - The go-to person.

Mr FINCH - The go-to person and a very helpful one too, very efficient.  I notice too that Andrew MacGregor has come on the board in recent times.  As the member for McIntyre knows, he is a wonderful community contributor, giver, enthusiastic -

Ms Rattray - and engaged.

Mr FINCH - and engaged.  He is a successful businessperson who is now bringing his enthusiasm to the board along with the others on the board of the Tasmanian Community Fund. 

The fund is not a taxpayer handout.  The proceeds came from the sale of the Trust Bank in 1999.  Since then, $103 million has been allocated to about 2900 projects in Tasmania.  The fund undertook strategic planning early last year and, after receiving feedback from the community, decided that the strategic focus for community funding would now be community wellbeing, workforce engagement, community infrastructure and leadership and capacity building.

The fund has made a commitment to provide $1.5 million a year for workforce engagement, $1.5 million a year for community wellbeing, $1 million a year for community infrastructure, and $2.4 million a year for meeting the needs of emerging community leaders.  The next grant round opens in January next year, with $1.2 million available to meet community needs.  Grants range from $1000 to $70 000.  Then $1.5 million will be available for community wellbeing and $1.5 million for workforce engagement.

I mentioned earlier Sally Darke and Andrew MacGregor.  The fund's board is independent and determines the fund's strategic direction and grant allocation.  If memory serves me correctly, board members are volunteers.  They are contributors on the board.  I am not entirely sure of that but I have a sense they contribute their services to the community.  I will check that.

Since its inception in 2000, 19 community members have been appointed to the board - 10 women and eight men.  There have been three chairpersons who have all done magnificent jobs.  The original chair was Gerald Loughran from the north-west coast, Burnie way -

Ms Rattray - Lynn Mason.

Mr FINCH - Lynn Mason from Flinders Island and, presently, Sally Darke.  During its almost 20 years, the board has assessed more than 8900 grant applications for funding, totalling more than $463 million.  As members know, the assessment of grant applications is very time-consuming.  More than 2900 of these applications were successful and given allocations from the $103 million.

Community projects that have been helped since 2000 are too numerous to mention here.  We heard rounds 37 and 38 the other day, and there were 136 successful grants.  I noticed none of them was from my area of West Tamar.

Ms Rattray - There may not have been any put in.

Mr FINCH - I spoke to our mayor, Christina Holmdahl, and she is thrilled with the support received by West Tamar in the past.  This prompts us to look more closely and perhaps put in more submissions.  I have a couple in - one from the Glengarry Hall and one may be soon from the Beauty Point Bowls and Community Club for a new kitchen, but more about that later.

The list of those helped goes on and on:  improving the lives of Tasmanians living with disabilities; projects to help elderly Tasmanians; Girl Guides; the Red Cross; police clubs and community youth clubs; skate parks; bike tracks; walking tracks; the National Trust; projects supporting the preservation and celebration of Aboriginal culture; community garden projects; medical research; the Menzies Research Institute; Clifford Craig Medical Research Trust; and live theatre and ballet.  Not billion-dollar infrastructure projects but real community projects that would probably miss out otherwise.  It is a small but effective economic stimulus.

Honourable members, no need to encourage you.  I am sure you are on top of this and understand the Tasmania Community Fund is waiting to hear from projects in your community.