JUBILATION and a few dance moves were on display yesterday with $4 million in state cash securing the future of the National Centre for Farmer Health.
The Hamilton centre, situated at the city’s public hospital, will gain $1 million annually for the next four years to continue its research following the pre-budget announcement.
State Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford delivered the news to staff and civic leaders at the morning ceremony, with centre director Susan Brumby performing an impromptu dance of joy in front of the crowd.
Ms Brumby said the centre had been in financial limbo for the past few years and the cash would help to retain jobs at the Western District Health Services site.
“It’s a fantastic day. I’m overjoyed and so is everyone here,” she said.
“The community have been so supportive and really rallied behind us. They understand the important work and research that the national centre provides.”
The Sustainable Farming Families program will be revived as part of the new deal after being in abeyance since June 2013.
“The information we generated from the program was recognised across the country — it was an award-winning program,” Ms Brumby said.
Southern Grampians mayor Peter Dark hailed it “a big day for Hamilton and the wider region”.
Cr Dark said the centre played an important role in health research, not just in the Western District but nationwide.
“This will lead to more jobs in Hamilton, so it’s a good day from an employment side of things as well,” he said.
Ms Pulford said the centre had been in need of state government assistance for three years.
“The centre was hanging on by its fingertips and there was a real danger of it closing under the previous state government,” the Agriculture Minister said.
“When we made the election commitment in October to fund the centre, there were tears of joy.
“We’ve stayed true to that commitment and the centre will now be able to operate at full capacity.” Wannon MP Dan Tehan said he welcomed the state input and added the federal Coalition made a contribution to the centre last year which maintained the service in Hamilton.
The $4 million funding package will be confirmed in next week’s Spring Street budget, due to be handed down by State Treasurer Tim Pallas on Tuesday afternoon.
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