Cuts jeopardise Falcon Family Centre’s future

Canning MHR Andrew Hastie and Dawesville MLA Zac Kirkup with parents, children and staff at the Falcon centre.
Canning MHR Andrew Hastie and Dawesville MLA Zac Kirkup with parents, children and staff at the Falcon centre.

COST cutting by the State Government has put at risk about 50 WA neighbourhood centres, according to parents and staff.

Falcon Family Centre is one of them.

The State Government wants to put operation of the centres out to tender which could lead to a provider not based in the area taking over and even moving the centre from its current building.

Local politicians Canning MHR Andrew Hastie and Dawesville MLA Zac Kirkup met with parents, staff and committee members last week.

Neither opposes going to tender as long as the chosen providers are local and the 20-year old centre remains.

More than 80 children use the playgroup, dozens of community groups use the centre and it has the second busiest child clinic in the Peel region.

Mr Kirkup said the State Government was expected to put the contract out to tender in September,

He said the centre must remain in the hands of experienced local providers.

“Local people for local services,’’ Mr Hastie added.

They plan to petition the State Government for a regional provider.

Centre manager Wendy King said taking away a social, communal hub would negatively impact the community.

“We have a health nurse five days a week who also does parenting classes and an immunisation clinic,’’ she said.

“Waratah All Year Care also operates from the centre offering care to more than 140 families. We’re a community run by a community where everyone belongs in a safe, friendly, caring environment.”

But Mandurah MLA David Templeman said it was not unreasonable for the Government to put contracts out to tender as they had not been out to tender for many years.

“Its only fair that all community organisations have the chance to apply for Government funds,’’ he said.

“This is about openness in Government.

“There are no reductions in funding for the Stronger Communities and Individual Support Program.

“I have strongly encouraged both Greenfields Family and Community Centre and Falcon Family Centre to tender for their respective centres because they have done a very good job.”

Mr Templeman said the Budget allocation of almost $9.4 million had been maintained in full.

There would be no closure of any centre and it was an opportunity for even more activities to be generated from the centres in the future.

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