The Age of Grants
I grew up believing that as far as possible, I’d have to pay my own way through life.
My, haven’t things changed? Today, or so it seems, that thinking has been replaced with something else, something like – let’s not do anything unless we can get someone else to pay for it.
If it had a name, it could probably be called The Age of Grants.
Obviously, there are exceptions, but it seems to me that a great number of people, organisations, and particularly local Councils, now seem very reluctant to do anything unless they can get a grant or funding of some sort. What ever happened to, first and foremost, expecting to pay our own way, but if we could get a grant or some funding, that’d simply be a bonus?
Unless I miss my guess, there wouldn’t be too many projects that our local Council has on its agenda, that are not dependent on getting a grant of some sort. I don’t have a problem with that so much, but I would have a problem if good, necessary or vital local projects didn’t get off the ground simply because grant funding couldn’t be secured.
I also wonder if the way grant funding is allocated or distributed is not working against better outcomes for local or deserving communities.
Again I don’t know for sure, but the impression I get is that our Federal or State Governments allocate funding for a variety of different reasons or purposes, and then Council’s like ours can apply for that funding to do a project within the bounds of that reason or purpose. For example, the $4 million or so our Council secured to do a huge upgrade to the museum or regional gallery was probably money allocated to be used in the arts or history area. What I’m saying is that if $4 million is available, what if as a community, we would prefer to spend that money on something we considered more important or beneficial. Also, it appears that whichever party is in Government, this can play a part in which communities or electorates get grant funding and how much. If that’s true, I find that questionable.
Grants, whichever Government offers them, are presumably just tax money being distributed amongst the people. My belief is that whatever the total of the pool money available, it should be distributed amongst all communities in an equitable manner, probably using a formula of some sort based on the local population for example. Who’s in power shouldn’t affect that. How such money is then used within a local community should be decided by the Community and probably on a local priority basis.
To make my point further, let’s imagine if Orange had opportunity to secure $20 million of government funding in the next 12 months. Don’t you think it would be good if, as a community, we could then decide which projects we wanted or needed to spend it on? That against having to spend it on projects that the Government of the day dictated.
Call me old-fashioned but I believe grants have their place, but they shouldn’t just be an easy excuse for not doing what is the noble and responsible thing to do in the first place.