Community Services and Welfare
Chair: Ken Marslew AM
The Shire Futures' Project has wide-ranging plans aimed at catering for the community and fostering the growth of the Shire’s 220,000 residents.
Community services and welfare outcomes will address issues affecting everyone from young people to the elderly in areas of mental health, home care, transport and community.
The Shire Futures' Project has both short and long term goals, many of these based around unifying the community to create a safer, forward-planning, well-connected Shire. The Project plans to streamline operations where possible to make sure that services are delivered as efficiently as possible.
The Shire has a proud heritage and the project is putting plans in place to help the region continue to prosper with the following initiatives:
- Establish an online database of all types of community services and agencies in the Shire: Discussions have been held with Deputy Mayor Tom Croucher and staff at Council in April 2014. As a result Council will be working with The Shire Futures' Inc to develop a submission for an iPhone App that would be available to emergency services personnel and people in need of contacting a particular service provider. Council anticipate that there will be scope for an improvement in their website contact list early 2015. This still requires emergency services people and people in need of contacting a service provider to use Council’s website There is an external group who are investigating the app we have suggested and we will continue discussions in early 2015 with Council about this application.
- Identify an effective, sustainable vision for the future to meet the needs of the Shire: Contact has been made with a group called Partners in Recovery and there will be ongoing discussions that will look at the areas of duplication of services as well as gaps in service delivery. These discussions with Partners in Recovery are progressing in a positive way and discussions in November 2014 indicated that a report on these aspects will be finalised in the near future that will address this key issue.
- Establish a Peak Body to represent Shire Services. Whilst the establishment of a peak body has merit, at this time, it is not a priority and we will review in the light of changes anticipated in the way individual service providers may be moving towards some forms of amalgamation.
- Initiate improved access to mental health services within The Shire eg Up Zone, youth health clinic, youth drop in centres linked to psychologist, drug counsellors, Headspace: Headspace Centre has been opened at Miranda in February 2014 and whilst our role was as a supportive nature this is a huge step forward in addressing mental health issues in The Shire. Southern Sydney Business Education Network (BEN) organised a mental health forum in May 2014 and we are keen to play an ongoing role in any steering committee that is formed as a result
- Investigate more aged care programs and provide information to relevant parties about support programs: In conjunction with Centrelink, Sanctuary Financial Services, Shire Legal and Moran Health Care there have been 2 very successful Seminars held that have addressed a range of age care issues and options We are also involved in discussions with Lee Evans, MLA for Heathcote, and we are planning to meet with Peter Moran on June 11 2014 to discuss the broader context of this issue and its implications for The Shire with the baby boomers approaching this age bracket. Council held an seminar in October 2014 on ‘Ageing Well Strategy’ – we are awaiting the report from that seminar which we attended. Independent of that we plan to have further discussions with key stakeholders about the issues with aged care in the first quarter of 2015.
- Break down barrier between youth and police force based on the model developed by Redfern LAC which has lowered a range of crimes: This model has been discussed with both Local Area Commanders within The Shire based at Miranda & Sutherland. Based on these discussions we engaged with both Local Area Commands, Australian Hotel Industry Association, Local Liquor Accords, relevant local service providers and Sutherland Council to develop a trial program that would involve Year 12 High School students. This trial was based on the successful implementation of a similar program in Campbelltown by NSW Police. After several meetings the program was taken over by the Local Area Commands and is gradually being rolled out after a most successful start with Cronulla High School. Whilst we are no longer part of the roll out program, our rearly action undoubtably initiated a program that has great outcome potential in terms of engagement with local youth on a very key problem area of alcohol abuse. On another program we are involved in discussions with Kurrunulla Aboriginal Corporation based at Jannali and with a Redfern based Aboriginal group called Tribal Warrior to look at how Redfern model can be applied to some issues of concern to the Kurrunulla Aboriginal Corporation. This program has been implemented by NSW Police in conjunction with local liquor accords and local high schools and there have been several successful programs conducted after an initial trial at Cronulla High School.
- Assess current programs and enhance targeted early intervention programs that address both current and potential issues: A key area of concern is the growing issue of Homelessness within The Shire and cut backs in the level of funding for support services. This will be addressed at a Homelessness Issues Forum that will be held on June 24 2014. The purpose of that Forum is to look into issues and to consider what are some tangible ways to address those issues. A range of local service providers, church groups and Council have been invited to attend the Forum. The Homelessness Forum planned for June 2014 was not undertaken. However we have been engaged in discussions with Partners In Recovery and other service providers with the aim to hold a forum on this key issue in first half of 2015.
Long Term Vision Aims:
- Develop strategies to address major future problems with support for the aged in residential care and in their own homes
- Improved social planning, especially involving transportation links to aged care facilities
- Develop specialist family violence courts based on the successful drug court models,
- Preventative services to address suicide within The Shire, especially youth suicide.
- Develop community service & welfare hubs
- Establish a community services strategy that addresses the identified needs of domestic violence, child abuse, bullying, homelessness, youth and mental health