Ser­vice cen­tres vi­tal to ru­ral towns

The West Australian - - LETTERS -

Thank you, Lyn Har­vey, for your note of sup­port for com­mu­nity re­source cen­tres in ru­ral ar­eas. It was heart­en­ing to know some­one from the city was aware of their work (Let­ters, 11/11). The cen­tres do more than pro­vide in­ter­net ser­vices, as as­sumed by our Premier, Mark McGowan.

They have be­come our life­line to so many ser­vices, in­clud­ing the tax of­fice, Medi­care, Cen­tre­link, adult ed­u­ca­tion, se­niors sup­port, com­puter train­ing, and first-aid train­ing, to name just a few.

There are a lot of se­niors in these towns who rely on as­sis­tance from the re­source cen­tres. They don’t have the knowl­edge to ac­cess these ser­vices on their mo­bile phones (when they can get a sig­nal).

In our town lo­cals are em­ployed to pro­vide this ser­vice, and to train the el­derly for such things, there­fore keep­ing peo­ple in our towns.

Our re­source cen­tre em­ploys two full-timers and two part-timers and they are busy all the time.

These car­ing peo­ple also put in vol­un­tary time out­side of of­fice hours to en­sure our small towns con­tinue to flour­ish.

This is the case in all the small coun­try towns with com­mu­nity re­source fa­cil­i­ties.

Most ru­ral peo­ple are aware there has to be cuts in ex­pen­di­ture. But why these soft tar­gets? How do you think we feel when we hear there will be $120 mil­lion spent on a Ma­rina in Ocean Reef ?

Surely, when fi­nances are as dire as we are con­stantly told they are, such projects need to be put on the back­burner.

Since the in­tro­duc­tion of the com­mu­nity re­source cen­tre to our lit­tle town, I have watched and felt a grow­ing op­ti­mism among our cit­i­zens con­cern­ing the town’s fu­ture.

We fi­nally have ac­cess to ser­vices city folk have had for decades. We there­fore have less long-dis­tance travel and less ar­gu­ing with an au­to­mated voice at the end of the phone line. Our el­derly and dis­ad­van­taged do not have to rely on some­one to take them to ser­vice places as of­ten.

Politi­cians, please ven­ture out from the city. Come and see for your­selves the value re­source cen­tres are to our com­mu­ni­ties.

You may re­visit the pro­posal of a 40 per cent cut in fund­ing.

They are not to­tally re­liant on gov­ern­ment fund­ing. A lot of their ser­vices are com­mer­cial. But the small grant they re­ceive keeps them op­er­at­ing.

Will there also be a cut in the liv­ing away from home al­lowance for our stu­dents who need to go to board­ing school? He­len Fidge, Narem­been

Mark McGowan

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