Services seek government support

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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