Ser­vices seek govern­ment sup­port

Whitsunday Times - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

FED­ERAL La­bor can­di­date Bron­wyn Taha was a guest at this month’s Whit­sun­day In­ter-agency Net­work meet­ing, where rep­re­sen­ta­tives from sev­eral of the re­gion’s ser­vice providers were able to gain her ear.

One of the ma­jor con­cerns from agen­cies such as the Whit­sun­day Te­nancy and Hous­ing In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice, was the im­pact of govern­ment fund­ing cuts.

Twice in re­cent his­tory, the Te­nancy Ad­vice and Ad­vo­cacy Ser­vice (TAAS) has been de-funded by the State Govern­ment and on each oc­ca­sion it has been the Fed­eral Govern­ment that has thrown the ser­vice a six-month fund­ing life­line.

Ms Taha said this type of sit­u­a­tion was the very rea­son she nom­i­nated as a can­di­date for Daw­son, “be­cause I’m very an­gry and con­cerned about the State Govern­ment fund­ing cuts to our com­mu­nity groups”.

Whit­sun­day Cri­sis and Coun­selling Ser­vices (WCCS) CEO Car­men Bekker said she was con­cerned that a lot of pro­grams were now up for re-ten­der. Ms Bekker said when on-the-ground ser­vices were lost there was a ten­dency to switch to help lines as an al­ter­na­tive mea­sure.

“But 60 per cent of our com­mu­ni­ca­tion is body lan­guage, so I’m sorry, but that’s not ap­pro­pri­ate,” she said.

Ms Taha said the agen­cies should also raise th­ese con­cerns with State MP Ja­son Costi­gan, but many of the rep­re­sen­ta­tives said they had al­ready tried.

Proser­pine Com­mu­nity Cen­tre co-or­di­na­tor Cathie Evans said Mr Costi­gan’s of­fice was only 20 paces away, “but he hasn’t been here to lis­ten to our con­cerns, our needs and our wants”.

Mr Costi­gan said he re­called re­ceiv­ing a pre­vi­ous in­vi­ta­tion to meet with the in­ter-agen­cies but was un­able to at­tend due to a prior en­gage­ment.

“If they’d like to con­tact my of­fice with some fu­ture dates, I’d be in­ter­ested to hear about that,” he said.

Ms Taha said ser­vices could also con­tact Queens­land’s Op­po­si­tion leader Annastacia Palaszczuk, who would raise im­por­tant is­sues in Par­lia­ment.

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