Social services gaps concern Greens pair
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.
Member for the South West Region Diane Evers.