We all know there is a state government election looming and we are all viewing all parties with a degree of suspicion whenever they open their mouths promising yet another multi-million dollar hand out, and rightly so. If ever there was a time to buy votes, it is most certainly in the next few months.
There is one initiative on at the moment that is being run by the state government that I feel deserves a mention because it is a big picture item, not an immediate vote-grabbing exercise. The Pick My Project campaign is a beauty and has captured the imagination of local communities, especially here in Wyndham.
There are 30 organisations in Wyndham vying for the grants, ranging from about $20,000 to $200,000.
The range of projects is diverse and interesting. Everything is covered, from waste management, a local maps app and a mural on the iconic Werribee water tower to an inter-cultural tea and coffee festival. There is a proposed folk fest, plans to introduce lawn bowls more widely and also plans to bring digital technology to the elderly. Werribee Football Club wants to upgrade its scoreboard, Wyndham BMX is looking to make over its score shed, all weather seating is being sought at the Hoppers Lane athletics facility and the Wyndham Community Boxing Club wants to introduce organised boxing to troubled teens.
All 30 projects are worthy of funding, but who gets the slice of state government money is decided for the most part by the amount of online votes it attracts. There are very strict rules regarding the voting which is good, but the way it has people talking about positive change to the area and engaging residents in projects in their own backyard is excellent.
The exposure to the public for all these 30 projects is brilliant. Would I have known about the musical therapy for special needs children, the lantern festival of light, or the body positive hiking for culturally diverse and refugee women without this initiative? Fair to say no.
It is a great idea. Well done to whoever thought of it. I hope it continues regardless of who wins the state election in November. ■