Youth service representatives hold talks over funding cut concerns

BALLARAT youth service representatives have voiced their concerns about sector funding cuts in a round table discussion led by Opposition youth affairs spokesman Martin Foley. 

Martin Foley

Martin Foley

The axing of some Ballarat youth programs, following the release of the federal budget last week, were at the forefront of the discussion on Wednesday. 

Mr Foley said the state opposition had this week drafted a 300-page framework policy, which would include benefits for young adults.

The opposition spokesman said he could not expand on the framework policy, but said the opposition would build upon it in the lead up to the November election. 

“What we hope is Daniel Andrews ... will come back to the people of Ballarat with a program of action on how they will support communities and their young people,” Mr Foley said. 

“That means restoring funding for TAFE and supporting early education services. We are confident we will be doing that.” 

Disengagement, mental health, homelessness and unemployment were some other topics of discussion. 

Wendouree Neighbourhood House community development officer Skye Mannix-McCann said she was disappointed there had been no evaluation of the programs that were slashed. 

“There were programs that had not been successful in their outcomes, but there were a lot of good programs that were existing on not that much money (and they were cut),” Ms Mannix-McCann said. 

“The government should have looked at supporting things that worked well.” 

Ms Mannix-McCann said youth workers would also have to face the pressure of telling their clients they could not help them anymore. 

“It is going to put pressure on the person telling (that young person) they have nowhere else to go,” she said. 

About 20 representatives from Youth Connections, UnitingCare, Highlands LLEN, Headspace, Ballarat City Council and Wendouree Neighbourhood House raised their concerns to the opposition minister at Ballarat Learning Exchange on Wednesday.

kara.irving@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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