Member for Glass House, Andrew Powell has today expressed dismay that over 120 neighbourhood and community centres across Queensland, including the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre, are at risk of being unable to provide essential services due to inadequate funding.
“Neighbourhood Centres already receive so little money from the State Government as it is. For this government to go ahead and cut that funding is cruel.”
“If anything, funding for neighbourhood centres, the lifeblood of communities like Maleny, should be doubled.”
Backing this claim is the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) which has reported that most Neighbourhood Centres currently only receive a base fund of $115,000 per year. This barely covers the costs of one full-time worker to deliver neighbourhood centre activities, IT systems, utilities, maintenance, materials, programs and sometimes rent. *
“Here in Maleny, we have a fantastic neighbourhood centre full of hard-working volunteers. It provides essential services to locals and has formed part of the heart of the Maleny community.”
“It was actually under the former LNP Government that Maleny Neighbourhood Centre started receiving any funding at all. Earlier Labor Governments may have constructed the Centre’s building, but they left them high and dry when it comes to keeping the lights on. And it looks like they’ll be doing it again.”
Neighbourhood Centres are well known for providing Australians with disaster relief services and provisions, food, counselling, community development programs, communal gardens and even emergency accommodation in some circumstances.
Maleny Neighbourhood Centre co-ordinator Nooreen Harris states that “funding to Neighbourhood Centres is critical to serving community needs, now more than ever. There are more members in our community in need than there has ever been, youth, families seniors, people with disabilities, everyone is affected by the current state of the economy in Australia. The need for crisis support has significantly grown each year and the cases we are seeing are in dire need. Neighbourhood Centre workers are mainly women and have been struggling for better pay rates for a number of years. The work we do is very specific and most of us work hours above and beyond what we are paid for because we care about our communities.”
“I have seen firsthand the impact of the frontline services that Neighbourhood Centre’s provide and I will fight to keep the Centre’s open and operating,” concluded Mr Powell.
Ends 7 May 2019