Heathcote RSL hall in need of some love
30 April 2021
Member for Euroa and Nationals’ deputy leader Steph Ryan has backed the Heathcote RSL in their efforts to obtain funding for urgent renovations and repair works ahead of next month’s state budget.
Ms Ryan said funding in this year’s budget was important after the Andrews Government stopped providing grants for major renovations under the Veterans Capital Grant program this year.
“The Heathcote RSL had done all of the groundwork to submit for the major works funding stream, which has been available to veterans for a number of years.
“Disappointingly, the Andrews Government seems to have cut the program, putting in place a $50,000 ceiling on grants.
“Despite having fundraised to contribute their own money to the project, without a significant contribution from the state government, the full project cannot go ahead.”
Ms Ryan said members had been campaigning for funding to upgrade their hall for more than six years.
“The current hall needs work to improve the bar area and provide a dedicated area for storage.
“The RSL Hall has the greatest capacity of any community facility in Heathcote, which means it is important for larger community events.”
Ms Ryan said she had previously written to the Minister for Veterans ahead of the 2020-21 State Budget, reiterating the need to invest in community projects in light of the $24.5 billion the Andrews Labor Government had borrowed.
“Community organisations across regional and rural Victoria were dealt a significant blow last year as a result of the government’s COVID-19 restrictions,” Ms Ryan said.
“Stay at home directions put a stop to the Heathcote Sub-branch’s usual fundraising efforts, including the 2020 ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day appeals.”
Ms Ryan met with Heathcote RSL secretary Miles Humphrey on Thursday to discuss the RSL’s plans to renovate, which would include a new office space for administrative work and sub-branch meetings, as well as an appropriate storage space and a green room for local theatre groups and schools.
“Funding to complete renovation works will not only benefit the Heathcote RSL– it will also allow for its continued use of the hall by current and future community groups as well as the wider township,” Ms Ryan said.
“I urge the Andrews Labor Government to provide adequate funding for the Heathcote RSL Sub-branch in next month’s state budget.”
Photo caption: Mudbrick Motley Theatre Group President Maree Hingston, Heathcote RSL Vice-President Ron Meager and President Miles Humphrey and Member for Euroa Steph Ryan.