Mi­grants lose Fed­eral aid

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Peter de Krui­jff

The Pil­bara’s mi­grant com­mu­nity has been left in the lurch af­ter a de­ci­sion by a na­tional char­ity to tran­si­tion out of all their ex­ist­ing gov­ern­ment-funded com­mu­nity ser­vices.

The restruc­tur­ing of Fron­tier Ser­vices, a body which chan­nels $450,000 of Fed­eral money to mi­grant work­ers in Kar­ratha, Port Hed­land and Kal­go­or­lie, has meant the money de­signed to help them set­tle is now in jeop­ardy.

Respite ser­vices in Roe­bourne have also ceased.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion’s tran­si­tion gen­eral man­ager Glenn Price said a re­view of its oper­a­tions in re­gional and re­mote Aus­tralia ear­lier this year led to the de­ci­sion to tran­si­tion out of all its ex­ist­ing gov­ern­ment-funded com­mu­nity ser­vices.

“The up­shot of these re­views was that Fron­tier Ser­vices con­cluded that its fu­ture work would be based upon com­mu­nity re­cov­ery, volunteering pro­grams, on fundrais­ing and on pa­trol min­istry,” he said.

“In terms of our WA ser­vices, the tran­si­tion will be con­cluded at the end of the year.

“Fron­tier Ser­vices will con­tinue to hon­our its com­mit­ment to sup­port re­mote and ru­ral Aus­tralia also through its in­no­va­tive com­mu­nity re­cov­ery and volunteering pro­grams.”

A Depart­ment of So­cial Ser­vices spokesman said Fron­tier Ser­vices stopped de­liv­er­ing its set­tle­ment

■ Norm Wat­son be­lieves you can never be too old to make a dif­fer­ence, as he jour­neys 16,000km around Aus­tralia on his mo­tor­cy­cle to raise aware­ness for the Child­hood Can­cer As­so­ci­a­tion.

For six weeks the 75-year-old mo­tor­cy­clist will ride around the coun­try solo, unas­sisted and un­ac­com­pa­nied on his 2009 Honda mo­tor­cy­cle.

Mr Wat­son said it was a love of mo­tor­bikes, a de­ter­mi­na­tion to over­come mul­ti­ple health is­sues and the chance to hon­our the mem­ory of his late son which set him on this jour­ney to fundraise for a good cause.

“If you knew what has hap­pened to this body I shouldn’t be here … but I wasn’t go­ing to let that get in the way of this trip which I’ve spent the last two years plan­ning,” he said.

“Our late son Steven was also a mo­tor­bike fa­natic, he could tell you ev­ery make and model of bike on the road and I’m do­ing this for him too.

“But I’m not do­ing this trip just for us, I’m do­ing it for the 64 kids that didn’t make it last year at the Child­hood Can­cer As­so­ci­a­tion. I want to hon­our them too.”

Mr Wat­son said he had been rid­ing mo­tor­bikes for more than 50 years, pre­vi­ously cir­cum­nav­i­gat­ing Aus­tralia for his 70th birth­day.

Since leav­ing Ade­laide on Septem­ber 4, Mr Wat­son has made his way to Port Au­gusta, Port Lin­coln and Streaky Bay be­fore cross­ing the bor­der to Norse­man, Esper­ance, Albany and Fre­man­tle be­fore head­ing north.

Mr Wat­son stopped in Kar­ratha last Thurs­day, spend­ing part of the day at the Visi­tors Cen­tre col­lect­ing do­na­tions.

He said he had been blown away by the com­mu­nity’s gen­eros­ity along his jour­ney.

“I have raised more than $6000 in 13 days and have had more than 40 spon­sors help me along the way,” he said.

“My fundrais­ing tar­get was ini­tially $10,000 but I ex­pect to ex­ceed that now.

“A lot of the sick kids from the coun­try go to the city for can­cer treat­ment; this money will help them the most.”

Mr Wat­son said he was ex­cited to re­turn to the North West, in par­tic­u­lar Broome where he had resided for 12 years pre­vi­ously, op­er­at­ing a Har­ley-David­son tour com­pany with his wife He­lena.

Af­ter trav­el­ling to Broome, he will make his way to the Top End be­fore trav­el­ling back down the east coast to Ade­laide.

Visit www.nev­er­tooold.org.au to fol­low Mr Wat­son’s jour­ney or to do­nate to his fundrais­ing cam­paign for the Child­hood Can­cer Foun­da­tion.

Pic­ture: Court­ney Fowler

Norm Wat­son is rid­ing 16,000km around Aus­tralia for the Child­hood Can­cer As­so­ci­a­tion.

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