Cuts to cen­tres should be based on need

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - News -

CUT­TING fund­ing for com­mu­nity re­source cen­tres would hit ru­ral women hard, the Greens have warned in the wake of In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day.

Greens South West MLC Diane Evers said she had writ­ten to Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan urg­ing the Gov­ern­ment to re­con­sider a 40 per cent cut flagged last year.

“I’ve writ­ten to the min­is­ter, Alan­nah MacTier­nan, be­cause she’s one that’s of­ten fought for women to have equal pay and her party of course wants that,” Ms Evers said. If adopted, the cuts would re­verse in­creases granted five or six years ago to en­sure fair pay for a largely fe­male work­force, Ms Evers said.

“Staff in CRCs have in the past pre­dom­i­nantly been un­der­paid women, but in re­cent years they have been put onto a Fed­eral award wage and equal re­mu­ner­a­tion or­der that saw them be­ing paid a fair and rea­son­able wage,” she said.

Not-for-profit com­mu­nity cen­tre ad­vo­cacy group Linkwest in Fe­bru­ary re­it­er­ated its op­po­si­tion to a cut of about 40 per cent, or $5 mil­lion, to to­tal CRC fund­ing in 2019-20.

The cut would re­sult in “job losses and sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced hours and wages for the many staff who work part-time in these cen­tres and prob­a­bly clo­sure for some,” Linkwest chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Jane Chilcott said.

Linkwest wel­comed the re­view which Ms MacTier­nan an­nounced last year and in Fe­bru­ary said would be com­pleted by mid 2018.

How­ever, it has voiced con­cerns about its terms of ref­er­ence.

The re­view should be in­de­pen­dent and built on Curtin Univer­sity’s ex­ten­sive re­search, Ms Chilcott said.

It should be based on com­mu­nity need, in­clude con­sul­ta­tion, and be made pub­lic.

Where CRCs were to have fund­ing cut, the re­view should also iden­tify how gov­ern­ment ser­vices would be pro­vided, she said.

Ms Chilcott said Linkwest ac­knowl­edged the State’s bud­get dif­fi­cul­ties but the re­view should con­sider how CRCs help de­liver re­gional ser­vices “in a cost ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient way”.

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