‘Collocation’ is fast becoming the talk of the town in regional communities.
Regional Development Minister Hendy Cowan said today that more than 40 communities had registered an interest in the State Government’s new Regional Collocation Scheme, which provided capital funds to help establish a Community Resource Centre in country towns.
The aim is to cluster compatible services in a single location, to reduce capital and operating costs, provide easier access for the community and help attract new services to the town.
A key benefit is that the tenants can share facilities ranging from the reception area and meeting rooms through to office equipment.
The Minister said service providers which had successfully collocated in some towns included local governments, Business Enterprise Centres, libraries, telecentres, Agriculture WA, tourist bureaus, HACC and Silver Chain - and opportunities existed for many others to participate.
The collocation grants could be used to construct new premises or purchase/renovate existing buildings to establish a multi-function centre.
Mr Cowan said the guidelines and funding criteria, which were finalised last month, were already attracting strong interest.
“More than 10 communities are currently developing formal business plans and funding applications with assistance from their local Regional Development Commissions, while about 30 others are examining their options for bringing services together under one roof,” he said.
“This is the way forward for regional communities. It makes good economic sense as well as providing real benefits for residents who gain a virtual one-stop-shop for a range of new and existing services.”
The $7.3 million Regional Collocation Scheme is managed by the Department of Commerce and Trade, in partnership with the nine Regional Development Commissions, as part of the State Government’s new Regional Development Policy.
Commerce and Trade Chief Executive Richard Muirhead said an exciting aspect was the potential for collocation to ultimately bring more Government services to regional areas.
“A number of government agencies have expressed interest in collocation as a viable option for delivering a range of shop front services in more country towns,” Mr Muirhead said.
Further information on the Regional Collocation Scheme is available from any of the nine Regional Development Commissions or the Department of Commerce and Trade on Freecall 1800 628 767.
David Brewtnall (Dept Commerce and Trade) 9327-5666
Peter Jackson (Minister’s office) 9222-9595