ABOUT 50 WA Neighbourhood Centres – including Falcon Family Centre and Greenfields Family and Community Centre – are under threat as the sector faces its most acute funding crisis in its nearly 40-year history, according to peak body Linkwest.
Linkwest chief executive Jane Chilcott claimed the State Government’s Department of Local Government and Communities was cutting funding by up to 30 per cent .
It was also implementing misguided reforms that favoured big contractors and would effectively dismantle the Neighbourhood Centre sector.
“As well as the funding cut, this move by the State Government compounds the previous Liberal Government’s action which removed accommodation certainty for many centres – a decision opposed by the Labor Party when in opposition but not overturned by them now they are in power,” she said.
“Our centres will be significantly disadvantaged if proposed new State Government policies allow open market tenders for this funding.
“If that policy is brought in, the biggest losers will be the Western Australian communities our members serve.”
However, a Department spokesman said the new Supporting Communities Program was a combination of the existing Community and Development Services, Individual and Family Support and Youth Support programs.
He said there had been no reduction in the total funding, with the current quantum of funding of $9.4 million to continue in activities that supported communities, individuals and families.
Services under the Supporting Communities Program would be provided by an open tender service that would provide fair and equitable access to government supply opportunities to ensure the best outcomes.
He said the Department had consulted with the sector to advise the design of the new program and arrangements for maintenance costs for community organisations could be included in the total funding in a tender application.