The source of funding for $39,600 to support the Armidale Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place was cause for a bit of debate in the Armidale Regional Council meeting on November 24.
Following a Performance Improvement Order and under stringent financial restraints, the Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place (ACCKP) was one of a number of organisations that was not approved to receive funding in the adopted budget of 2021-2022.
However, councillors moved that room be found within the budget to provide the sum, with staff recommending a flexible package where $10,000 would come from the existing budget, and the remaining $29,600 to come from a combination of three sources including revenue from land sales, NAIDOC Week funding and the annual ARC small grants program.
Councillor Jonathan Galletly spoke against the motion to provide funding from those four sources.
"I don't think it's up to the brand new council to have the burden of this, where is this actually going to come from?," he asked, before mayor Ian Tiley retorted that the "[staff] recommendation makes it very clear".
Councillor Peter Bailey also spoke against the funding sources.
"I too am concerned that we're robbing Peter to pay Paul, I'm not denying that the Aboriginal Keeping Place is a key and important part of what we have funded in the past," Cr Bailey said.
Cr Bailey said money from land sales and the business park had been earlier earmarked for reinvestment in the airport to maintain it as "a jewel in the crown" for the area and moved that it be removed as one of the possible funding sources.
Councillors Debra O'Brien and Margaret O'Connor said the staff recommendation appeared to be flexible and convenient for the incumbent council.
"I think the officers have made a very sensible and flexible recommendation and I'd like to stick with that - we have this moral obligation and I think the more flexibly we can go around our various functions to meet the financial aspects of that, the better," Cr O'Connor said.
"I just plead with councillors to do the right thing here and reinstate the funding."
Cr O'Brien said it was critical that council support the Indigenous community.
"Council mustn't forget our obligation to every part of this community and I feel particularly strongly that we have to support the Indigenous community and I'm very happy with the recommendation to have a flexible approach."
The budget sourcing motion was carried with a 4-3 vote.
Council is asking the community to share their views on the redirecting of $39,600 of existing council funding to the ACCKP.
Go to yoursay.armidale.nsw.gov.au for further detail on where the funding will be sourced from.
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