PGF invests over $2 million in the West Coast and Canterbury

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest in an initiative to get young people into jobs, as well as looking at whether the West Coast ports should be put under the same governance structure, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today in the West Coast.

The overall PGF investments totalling over $2 million announced today are:

  •  The PGF, through its skills and employment programme, Te Ara Mahi, is investing nearly $1.09 million in total in an already successful driver hub initiative, run by the Salvation Army, to be expanded from Canterbury to the West Coast.
  • A further almost $1.09 million through the PGF’s Te Ara Mahi programme has also been given to the Salvation Army to extend its current driver hub in Canterbury.
  • $100,000 will be provided towards establishing an appropriate governance structure for West Coast Ports.

“This latest PGF funding is in addition to PGF projects totalling over $88 million already announced in the West Coast region as at 31 July 2019.

“Attaining a driver licence removes a known barrier for people on their pathway to employment, and having a driver’s licence improves road safety, reduces re-offending through driving related offences, and reduces the isolation of living in remote areas,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

“We know employment improves wellbeing and strengthens families and communities, and with this in mind, the hub run by the Salvation Army has a significant focus on sustainable employment outcomes for participants through working with mentors.

“This initiative involves a 12 week Community Driver Mentor programmes to be run in Greymouth, Hokitika and Westport, which supports participants to pass their restricted driver test, as well as an eight week programme supporting people to gain their full licence.

“It specifically targets young parents, youth without parental support, sole parents, at risk young people and migrants, and will consider supporting other local people who are facing barriers to attaining their restricted and full licences, and provides ongoing pastoral care to participants beyond both courses to assist them into sustainable employment.

“The already established programme has had an over 80 per cent completion rate for participants, with over 60 per cent who have gone on to find employment.

“Funding of $100,000 will also be provided to explore whether the Westport and Greymouth ports could be put under one ownership and governance model, and also look at options regarding Port Jackson.

“The work undertaken will include a cost-benefit analysis of joint versus separate ownership, the existing and likely purpose of each port in the future, and advice on how best the ports can meet the needs of the West Coast region,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

“This work comes from a recommendation of an independent PGF-funded report which recommended the governance and ownership model be looked at across the three West Coast ports.

“It’s great to be back on the West Coast to invest in the great people and opportunities in this region,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

 Notes to editor:

The Under Secretary will make the announcement at the Buller District Council Chambers, 119 Palmerston Street, Westport at 1.45pm, accompanied by Hon Damien O’Connor, MP for West Coast-Tasman