Shared funding ‘unlikely’

Shared funding ‘unlikely’

Anot for profit community group is now considered unlikely to agree to a Wattle Range Council request to contribute at least $250,000 of its own funds to replace two council-owned buildings in Millicent.

The council had originally allocated $540,000 of its own funds in its 2022/23 budget to the work on the ageing pre-fabricated timber buildings which form part of the Millicent National Trust Museum.

A peppercorn lease allows them to be used for part of the horse-drawn vehicle restoration workshop and to store historic items from the Helen Hughes Costume Collection.

The buildings date back at least to the 1960s and formerly housed classrooms for the original Millicent Primary School.

Council had a change of heart at its April monthly meeting and decided to vary the budget.

Council decided instead to put $250,000 of its own funds towards the project provided the National Trust matched or exceeded this amount.

This offer is available until the end of the calendar year and will then lapse.

In moving the successful motion in April, Councillor Dale Price claimed the National Trust in Adelaide had “millions of dollars in the bank”.

Cr Price again raised the $250,000 funding request at the November monthly council meeting and council chief executive Ben Gower said it could be assumed that no funds would be forthcoming from the National trust.

Mr Gower said he had raised the matter with the National Trust acting chief executive and was told the organisation had a number of buildings and assets but not the funds to maintain them.

“There is no spare cash,” Mr Gower said.

Following the erection of two other primary schools in Millicent in the 1960s, the State Government handed over the original school buildings to local government.

The Millicent National Trust has developed a museum on the Mount Gambier Road site over the past 53 years but the ex-school buildings remained in council ownership.

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