Cash injection a pri­or­ity


Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Jenny Gal­braith

A NEW re­port that pro­vides a snap­shot of the Black­town and Mt Druitt com­mu­ni­ties should be a wake-up call for gov­ern­ments to pour cash into the area, says Black­town Mayor Stephen Bali.

Black­town Coun­cil’s so­cial re­port paints Mt Druitt as re­silient com­mu­nity that val­ues fam­ily, but faces se­ri­ous chal­lenges in em­ploy­ment, drug use and child­hood de­vel­op­ment.

Eleven sub­urbs within the Mt Druitt precinct were the most dis­ad­van­taged in Black­town area, the re­port said.

While neigh­bours sup­ported each other de­spite their own dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances, those on lower in­comes say the cost of liv­ing is too high.

The Mt Druitt area con­tin­ues to have the high­est to­tal fer­til­ity rate, which means there is in­creas­ing de­mand for early child­hood ser­vices in the area.

Lat­est fig­ures show the un­em­ploy­ment rates have steady in­creased over the past few years, and res­i­dents cited lack of lo­cal jobs as a ma­jor bar­rier.

Bid­will-He­ber­sham-Emerton have an un­em­ploy­ment rate of 21.2 per cent, at Leth­bridge Park-Tregear the rate is 19.9 per cent and it’s 16.1 per cent in Mt Druitt-Whalan.

“The trend was con­cern­ing with the im­prove­ments seen dur­ing 2012 to 2013 dis­ap­pear­ing,” the re­ports stated.

Much of the data came from fo­cus groups and fo­rums with thou­sands of res­i­dents across the com­mu­nity.

Cr Bali said the area had been hit hard by the loss of man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs.

While the coun­cil had made ef­forts to boost em­ploy­ment such as favour­ing lo­cal busi­nesses in ten­ders and ap­prov­ing busi­ness parks, there needed to be a com­bined ef­fort from all lev­els of govern­ment, Cr Bali said.

“The doc­u­ment it­self is an ex­tremely im­por­tant re­source to be able to use as a bench­mark to come up with le­git­i­mate ways of ad­dress­ing the chal­lenges we face in our com­mu­nity,” he said.

“Un­for­tu­nately both Fed­eral and State Gov­ern­ments have de­prived a lot of fund­ing for valu­able sup­port net­works, and this doc­u­ment al­lows us to lobby to re­in­state some of this.”

Fund­ing cuts to so­cial ser­vices such as do­mes­tic vi­o­lence sup­port and Ea­gle RAPS had im­pacted the area, he said.

The coun­cil will use the re­port to meet with ser­vice providers and govern­ment agen­cies in the com­ing months to iden­tify pri­or­i­ties for the area.

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