So­cial ser­vices gaps con­cern Greens pair

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - Taelor Pelusey

State and Fed­eral Greens politi­cians have vowed to ap­ply pres­sure to gov­ern­ments af­ter claim­ing their tour of the South West un­cov­ered ma­jor gaps in the so­cial ser­vices sec­tor.

Last week, Greens sen­a­tor and Fed­eral com­mu­nity ser­vices spokes­woman Rachel Siew­ert joined South West MLC Diane Evers in meet­ing with ser­vice providers in Mar­garet River, Bus­sel­ton, Man­jimup and Bun­bury.

Sen­a­tor Siew­ert later spoke to the Times about some of the con­cerns raised.

“One of the key is­sues picked up is that the South West is lack­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion for peo­ple who are tran­si­tion­ing out of hos­pi­tal, im­pris­on­ment or out of drug and al­co­hol re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion,” she said.

“The roll­out of the WA (Na­tional Dis­abil­ity In­sur­ance Scheme) in the South West was a hot topic of dis­cus­sion, with ser­vice providers anx­ious about its finer de­tails.”

Ms Siew­ert said the WA NDIS had brought ben­e­fits for those able to ac­cess it but high­lighted the need to sup­port those who did not qual­ify.

Com­mu­nity Home Care op­er­a­tions gen­eral man­ager An­drew Robin­son, whose or­gan­i­sa­tion re­cently ex­panded its reach through­out the South West, echoed the sen­a­tor’s con­cerns.

“The NDIS cri­te­ria for sup­port is very high so only one in five peo­ple cur­rently re­ceiv­ing sup­port will prob­a­bly be el­i­gi­ble un­der NDIS,” he said.

“From a ser­vice provider’s per­spec­tive, we just want to make sure peo­ple get the sup­port they need, but we’re wor­ried peo­ple will fall through the gaps.”

Con­fu­sion sur­round­ing the NDIS’ finer de­tails and a lack of tran­si­tion ac­com­mo­da­tion were just two of the top­ics raised, with oth­ers in­clud­ing men­tal health, home­less­ness and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Ms Evers said these is­sues were of­ten-linked, mak­ing them dif­fi­cult to tackle, and flagged red tape as an im­ped­i­ment to many get­ting the sup­port they needed.

How­ever, she cau­tioned against tack­ling the is­sue with more bu­reau­cracy.

“You couldn’t just bring in an over­ar­ch­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion to serve as a cen­tral point; you’ll lose flex­i­bil­ity,” she said.

“What we need is a bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion of ser­vices.”

Both politi­cians com­mit­ted to shin­ing a light on these is­sues at a State and Fed­eral level.

A Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment spokes­woman said most of the is­sues raised fell to the State.

WA’s Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Min­is­ter Si­mone McGurk did not re­spond to the Times’ re­quest for com­ment by dead­line.

Pic­ture: De­clan Bush

Mem­ber for the South West Re­gion Diane Evers.

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