Fund­ing strug­gle for jus­tice cen­tre

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

A new cen­tre bring­ing com­mu­nity jus­tice or­gan­i­sa­tions to­gether un­der one roof in Kar­ratha is strug­gling to at­tract fund­ing.

The Pil­bara Com­mu­nity Le­gal Ser­vice is about to be­gin build­ing a re­gional Com­mu­nity Jus­tice Cen­tre at the old Avis site on Bal­moral Road in the CBD.

The cen­tre, de­signed to house at least 14 lo­cal so­cial ser­vice or­gan­i­sa­tions, is be­lieved to be the first of its kind in WA.

But PCLS chief ex­ec­u­tive Nanette Wil­liams said the four grants the ser­vice had ap­plied for to fund con­struc­tion so far had ei­ther been knocked back or were await­ing ap­proval months on, de­spite the project re­ceiv­ing 28 let­ters of sup­port in its ini­tial stages.

She said the cen­tre was a dream she was de­ter­mined to make hap­pen be­cause PCLS staff had grown too big for its Welcome Lot­ter­ies House of­fices, but a lack of funds could stall the process.

“At the mo­ment we’ve got stage 1, stage 2 and stage 3 (in the build­ing plans),” she said.

“We can, if we de­cide or if we choose to, split stage 1 into three.

“If funds are not forth­com­ing, that’s what we will have to do.

“It will mean that some of us can move. But that’s not (ideal) . . . be­cause at the mo­ment we have two staff to every of­fice.”

In May, the City of Kar­ratha knocked back the ser­vice’s ap­pli­ca­tion for $50,000 from the An­nual Com­mu­nity Grant Scheme be­cause cen­tre con­struc­tion was un­likely to be com­pleted by the end of the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year set for that in­take of fund­ing.

But Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said the City sup­ported the cen­tre in prin­ci­ple and recog­nised its abil­ity to im­prove so­cial in­clu­sion in town, as well as the need for PCLS to up­grade premises.

“The ser­vice has clearly out­grown its cur­rent fa­cil­i­ties and the City wishes to sup­port them as best we can to ex­pand their ser­vices to our com­mu­nity,” he said.

“Coun­cil of­fi­cers have re­quested fur­ther in­for­ma­tion to en­sure the project com­plies with our fund­ing guide­lines and will put for­ward the ap­pli­ca­tion for a sec­ond con­sid­er­a­tion by coun­cil once this is re­ceived.” Mrs Wil­liams said Lot­tery­west had re­quested a fea­si­bil­ity study into rental al­ter­na­tives be­fore con­sid­er­ing fund­ing the cen­tre.

How­ever, she pointed out PCLS had con­ducted a fea­si­bil­ity study, and us­ing sep­a­rate of­fices would de­feat the cen­tre’s pur­pose of pro­vid­ing holis­tic help to clients.

Mrs Wil­liams said she was still wait­ing to hear back about an ap­pli­ca­tion for fund­ing from Roy­al­ties for Re­gions and the third round of the Na­tional Stronger Re­gions Fund.

Work on the Com­mu­nity Jus­tice Cen­tre has al­ready be­gun.

PCLS bought the site ear­lier this year, fin­ished fi­nal de­signs on the cen­tre last week and is await­ing plan­ning ap­proval be­fore con­struc­tion be­gins.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

Nanette Wil­liams, cen­tre, and staff Flordeliza Lar­raz­a­bal and Jana Fran­cis with de­signs for the planned jus­tice cen­tre.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.