More services suffer funding cuts
THE Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre is one of the latest organisations to fall victim to the State Government's funding cuts.
On September 12, Minister for Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services Tracy Davis announced a 10 per cent reduction in funding to all Neighbourhood Centres previously receiving more than $90,000 per annum.
For the Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre (WNC), which provides a variety of programs and services and is used by community groups and support agencies on a daily basis, this loss is expected to amount to about $60,000 per year.
Executive officer Mike Peippo said this figure included $21,000 from the Neighbourhood Centre program, $34,000 from its associated childcare service Scallywags and $4600 from the Emergency Relief Fund, which has been discontinued.
Mr Peippo said in the last financial year alone, 922 people utilised the Emergency Relief Fund which helps those in dire financial need with simple yet essential costs such as prescription medicines and food.
"The only alternative for emergency relief is St Vinnies or Whitsunday Crisis and Counselling Service (WCCS), but they only supply certain services so if we closed down there would be a void," he said.
Mr Peippo said WNC was determined to prop up as many of its programs as possible, including Scallywags, but could not do so indefinitely.
"What we may have to look at is cutting down our hours of operation and a possible reduction in staff hours, but no matter which way you look at it it's going to cut down some services," he said.
Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said he was well aware of WNC's importance to the community and would be making further enquiries on the matter.
"We've been living beyond our means, but don't think I'm not sympathetic to the situation because I am. I can't promise I'm going to be able to change the course of the funding axe here but I'm certainly going to be sticking my beak in," he said.